SPOILER ALERT!!!!! The game is on NBA TV tonight at 11:00 EST. If you want to watch it and don’t want to know what happened. Click away from this article! Read it later.
Why is Derrick Rose smiling? Maybe he was feeling the Divine Spirit. Or maybe he was laughing at the way things were going in the second quarter. The way this game went, I would be smiling too. After the second quarter, there was nothing interesting to talk about. Well maybe one thing.
There was a man dressed as Jesus at Team USA’s opening game of Pool competition at the FIBA World Cup.
Finland really needed the REAL Jesus Christ to show and help them in this game. Especially in the second quarter.
Okay, in my preview, I wrote that Team USA would beat Finland by about a hundred points. Well how about 59 points as the U.S. National team wouldn’t let them past the speed limit just beating the brakes off the 39th ranked Finland squad 144-55. This was not close, not a good look for Finland and this game should have had a mercy limit to the game…
After the second quarter.
I mentioned in the earlier preview about what needed to be done to improve Team USA’s defense. Well they can build a nice foundation off of this game as they did exactly as expected. They turned Finland over 31 times and ran them out of the gym, the parking lot, you know Spain wouldn’t be out of the equation here.
Team USA held Finland to a very meager 18 points while holding them to exactly the same amount of field goals that I had writing this column and everyone else reading it. Zero. The Finnish went an embarrassing 0-17 from the field in the second quarter on their way to two points. After this beatdown in the quarter, Team USA went into halftime with a 60-18 lead.
Folks, this second quarter was so bad for Finland, you really have to go to the stats AND rewind your DVR to see if this was true. Even I had to check a couple of resources. It was that bad.
This was a total team effort for Team USA as everyone on the squad scored while shooting 59% from the floor. If they hadn’t missed 12 of their 18 three-point shots they might have won by a hundred points.
Anthony Davis may be behind Derrick Rose in the picture above, but he won’t by the end of this tournament.
Anthony Davis is becoming a dangerous problem for basketball all over the world. He is on his way to being this tournament’s best player by far. He staked a serious claim in this game scoring 17 points on 6-8 shooting with four rebounds. Don’t let the four boards fool you. Two things came into play with that total. One, he had A LOT of help from his interior friends and two, the US didn’t miss. Kenneth “The Manimal” Faried was just that being active on the boards while bringing the energy that got the Americans off and rolling. Andre Drummond and DeMarcus Cousins both had nine points apiece as Team USA’a frontline bullied Finland’s starting center, Gerald Lee into three fouls before he broke a sweat. After that, lane parted like the Red Sea.
Or maybe it was that dude that dressed as Jesus.
If you don’t believe either he or the real one sure parted the lane for Derrick Rose to go through untouched for a two-handed slam.
The perimeter players was just as good for Team USA.
Breaking News to Pippen Ain’t Easy! James Harden made an impact on defense. For real. It was Harden that set it off for Team USA turning steals into easy transition buckets. He finished with nine points, three rebounds, three assists, four steals (let me check that really?) and a blocked shot. Rudy Gay did his thing at the stretch four position scoring ten points on 5-9 shooting. I like Rudy Gay’s game. He can make a real impact on this team and his career. Much like Lamar Odom and Tyson Chandler did in the past World Championship tournaments.
From the bench, Finland didn’t get a chance to rest. Klay Thompson lit Finland up for 18 points on 7-10 shooting. For some reason Finland thought he couldn’t shoot (they don’t have YouTube, NBA TV or NBA League Pass there) while Thompson was draining shots like he was in an empty gym.
Derrick Rose had a solid bounce back game after scoring only three points the previous game.. Rose finished with 12 points, three assists, two rebounds, two blocks and one steal. Plus the aforementioned two-handed dunk in the lane.
Now don’t start the Derrick Rose is back chants here. I’m still not buying. Sure he played well but he was one of two players on the team (DeMar DeRozan the other) to shoot less than 56 percent shooting 3-8 from the field. Plus it was Finland. Get at me in the medal rounds against Spain when things really count.
There’s no rest for the wicked they say. Team USA continues Group play tomorrow against Turkey. They are considered the Americans’ biggest challenge in Group C play. Finland can play Ukraine and try to forget that bad dream of a second quarter.