Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 14th 2014 Contents A57
September 14, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
MADRID---After a difficult summer, the
Basketball World Cup has been pretty easy
for the US.
No games have been close in the final
minutes, and only one was even competitive
entering the final period. This depleted team
that was supposed to be vulnerable has
instead been invincible.
The Americans believe that tough game
is coming today---and so does Serbia, their
"They have supreme confidence and just
that expectation, I think, that they feel like
they re going to win," US guard Stephen
Curry said, "and we have that same men-
tality as well."
Serbia is the only team left that can
stop the Americans from repeating as
world champions, looking to regain a title
that s meant so much in its basketball his-
"They are great, good team, but for sure
we won t go inside the game to lose," Serbian
guard Milos Teodosic said.
The Americans were supposed to be here,
though the road to the final was expected
to be tougher once Kevin Durant, Kevin
Love and Blake Griffin withdrew, and Paul
George broke his right leg. But the opponent
is a surprise.
The Serbians barely qualified for the 24-
team field as the seventh-place finisher in
last year s European championship. They
were only 2--3 in the group stage, advancing
as the fourth and final team from the pow-
erful Group A, but have peaked since the
games became win or go home.
A 90--72 rout of previously unbeaten Greece in
the round of 16 was followed by an 84--56 victory
over Brazil in the quarterfinals. Then the Serbians
built a huge lead and held on Friday for a 90--85 vic-
tory over France, which had beat then in the group
stage and knocked out tournament co-favourite Spain
in the quarters.
"They re just playing great basketball right now
and actually it s beautiful to see. I hope I don t see
that beauty tomorrow night (tonight)," US coach
Mike Krzyzewski said. "But they ve been playing
The Americans have been more dominant, aver-
aging 101.5 points and winning by 32.5 per game.
Their last two games had single-digit margins at
halftime, and yet they ended up winning both by a
combined 71 points.
"I cannot say we re going to win against the US,
but I m sure we re going to give all our best and try
to fight, but it s going to be hard for sure," said former
NBA centre Nenad Krstic.
The Americans have never repeated as world cham-
pions. The last team to win titles consecutively was
Yugoslavia in 1998 and 2002.
Krstic remembers cheering for his country mates
during the latter game, held in the United States, at
a gas station with his club team that was on a bus
at the time. It was the last of a record five world
titles won by Yugoslavia when Serbia competed as
part of that nation.
The Serbians have retained that basketball passion
since competing under their own flag---Curry played
on the US team that lost to host Serbia in the
championship game of the 2007 Under-19 tour-
"It s tough winning silver that game, so hopefully
we can be on the other side of it this time around,"
Serbia is already guaranteed its first medal at the
senior level. The Serbians---whose Olympic committee
president is former NBA centre Vlade Divac---finished
fourth in 2010.
"It means a lot because we are a basketball country,"
Krstic said. "Lots of people, whole country watch
The Americans say it s just as important to them,
especially after all the adversity they faced before
the games began.
USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo has said
a gold medal would be the sweetest one since he
took over the programme in 2005, since it seemed
so in doubt as big name after big name passed on
the trip to Spain.
"It s everything for us," US forward James Harden
said. "We came here with one thing on our mind,
that s to win the gold medal. We came this far,
doing an excellent job this far in this tournament.
So one more game to complete our mission."
France beats Lithuania
95-93 for bronze
Yesterday, France came from behind in the final
quarter to beat Lithuania 95--93 and win the bronze
Lithuania led by seven points entering the fourth
period, and centre Jonas Valanciunas scored five
points to put Lithuania ahead by three points with
three minutes to play.
But Boris Diaw drove twice to score contested lay-
ups as France went ahead and held on.
The final minute became a parade of both teams
exchanging free throw attempts, but France s shooters
didn t waver.
Nicolas Batum led France with a game-high 27
points, while Diaw added 15.
Valanciunas paced Lithuania with 25 points to go
with nine rebounds. (AP)
US, Serbia meet for b-ball WC gold
Links Archive September 13th 2014 September 15th 2014 Navigation Previous Page Next Page