No time to dilly dally. Game starting shortly and the preview’s already up here in both Slovenian and in English. Let’s get it:
-Not a good start for Slovenia. They give it away and Durant finishes easily on a run-out. If that’s a recurring theme then USA will run away by the second quarter. They need to tighten it up.
-Filed under: not fair. Durant crosses up Dragic somethin’ fierce at the top of the key and wraps it around to Iguodala who jams it home with both hands.
-Next time down Iguodala grabs a missed shot out of the rafters and drops it in. Physics don’t apply to No. 9.
-One guy on this floor clearly not impressed by the States: Bostjan Nachbar. He has four of Slovenia’s six so far, the second two coming on a thunderous dunk which would be good enough for the highlight reels in most games. However, the USA already has six of their own. It’s 18-6.
-Chandler turns it over, Lakovic nails a three, Gordon brings it down and immediately pulls, misses. This pace is greatly entertaining but will end up burying Slovenia. For their sake they should slow things down and make us beat them in the halfcourt. You can’t beat this team without cutting out 15-20% of their expected possessions.
-Gasper Vidmar carries yesterday’s solid play into today and takes it up strong under the hoop. Misses the jam, but points for aggressiveness. Misses both throws though and it’s 20-9.
-And there we have it. The USA’s second traveling violation. First time it was Gay, this time Gordon. The way this tournament is going, these 12 guys will combine for a total of zero walks in next year’s NBA. They might not even attempt a pivot. Score is 23-11 at the end of the first.
-Miha Zupan called for the block on the baseline. Interesting fact: Zupan has been deaf his entire life. Always amazed when I hear those sorts of stories. His is no exception. You have to admire that.
-Team USA racking up the frequent traveler miles. This time it’s Chauncey coming on the heels of a 4-point flourish for Slovenia. Two more for Nachbar, he’s got 6.
-Slovenian fans in an uproar after Durant swipes one off the rim, but shouldn’t that be a run-of-the-mill defensive play this side of the pond? A bit confused at that one, as these fans are some of the most educated in the world.
-Iguodala and Uros Slokar not getting along very well. Iggy pulled before he says mean things.
-Wait…what? Slovenia is capable of taking multiple steps w/o dribbling? I don’t believe it. Neither do their fans. Brezec with the extra step.
-That’s what happens when KD is your PF: weakside breakdowns and Primoz Brezec jams. Good look by Dragic underneath. Otherwise, Goran’s had an uneventful half.
-Durant, as he always seems to do, has put together a 13-point half somewhat quietly. It’s 36-23 right now as Team USA’s yips have come to a halt these last couple of minutes. Frantic atmosphere has calmed some. USA’s play has followed suit.
-Kevin Love with the Built Ford Tough® Play of the Game. Grabs a board one-handed with his other arm tied behind him, finishes plus the foul.
-Love with a board, 60-foot outlet ahead to Chauncey who works his way in and leaves it behind for Durant for his 14th and 15th points of the game. Our not-quite-so-fastbreaks have been working a hell of a lot better than our fast ones.
-Brezec hits one of two after getting fouled—allegedly—by Danny Granger on teh dunk attempt. Makes one of two and Slovenia trails 28-42 at the half.
USA: Durant 15, Love 6 (5 rebounds), Billups 6 (3 assists), Iguodala 6
Slovenia: Nachbar 6, Lakovic & Brezec 5, Sani Becirovic 4 (3 assists)
Notes: Slovenia played a much more patient second quarter after the first few chaotic minutes, but they need to convert when they get it inside. Not forcing much from deep which is a good sign, but I wouldn’t mind seeing Brezec, Vidmar, Zupan and Slokar kick it out to Lakovic at the top of the key (basically how he made his living with Barcelona this season).
And let’s be serious here: Dragic isn’t scoring just one point two halves in a row. Look for him to get 12-15 this half as it’ll be him and Nachbar running things in quarters three and four. He better not wait around though, because USA’s most vulnerable moments are already behind them.
-Dragic already with his two most assertive moves of the day and we’re only a few minutes in. One turned into a lay-up, the other he got fouled by Derrick Rose. Remember those, Goran.
-No clear path fouls in FIBA and America’s opponents are (wisely) taking advantage.
-Gasper the friendly Ghost with the drive and finish. I’m liking Gasper more and more. Becoming one of my favorites here along with Tunisia’s Marouan Nechrid.
-Gasper. Vidmar. Awesome. Two big jams and a huge block down low on Kevin Love in the last 1:30. Marouan better watch out.
-Danny Granger gets an offensive rebound and puts it plus the foul with 1.7 on the clock in the third. That’s a breakdown Slovenia couldn’t afford. 46-67 after tree quarters.
-Vidmar again and somehow he only has 9 points. Again though, he fails to convert the and one.
-Nachbar finally resurfaces after two quiet quarters. It’s a three to give him 9 points on the night. He’ll need to step it up here. I’d love to see Slovenia cut it to single digits just to see how we react.
-OK. Time for Steoh Curry. For real. Get him in there. Immediately.
-Goran has thrown the alley on two picks this quarter and both times Vidmar has decided not to roll. Ends up making Goran look bad, but really not his fault at all. That’s what happens when you’re used to playing with Amar’e.
-Kevin Love working on a double-double. Already 10 points and 11 boards for the big man. Lamar’s got 9 and we’ve outrebounded them 50-32 as a team.
-My man Steph Curry’s in there making shit happen. One man fastbreak all the way from lane to lane before laying it off to Westbrook for the slam.
-And Slovenia stops the US just shy of 100, 77-99. They played hard and came away with a few positives from this game, but plenty to work. Mainly the aforementioned rebounding advantage and moving the ball a little more swiftly to find shooters and driving lanes. I loved the way they took it to the rim tonight, but a majority of those drives were contested from the first dribble. They made the extra pass when they didn;t need to and held it too long when they should’ve swung it. They should count on this being Dragic’s most silent outing of the tournament, so spirits shouldn’t be dampered just yet. Tomorrow’s game against Croatia should be a fun one.