Team USA’s second game of the FIBA World Cup was a lot more stressful than its first. After a 59-point cakewalk over Finland on Saturday, defending World Cup runner-up Turkey threw all it had at the Americans, rolling out a stingy zone defense (which Team USA decided not to break by, you know, passing the effing ball), while hitting seemingly every three-point shot they jacked up (while Team USA barely hit any). After twenty minutes of pretty much the worst basketball you’ll ever see from Team USA, Turkey led 40-35 at halftime.
Then, Anthony Davis, who sat most of the first half due to foul trouble, went into “there’s no way we’re losing this effing game” mode (© Bill Simmons). He opened the second half with a three-point play, and just kept scoring, countering Turkey’s 5-for-5 shooting from downtown in the third quarter. Davis had been held scoreless in the first half, but tallied 19 in the second, complementing his big man running mate Kenneth Faried, who destroyed Turkey’s interior to the tune of 22 points and 8 rebounds.
The final score (98-77) was not indicative of the entire game, but Davis and Faried’s performances reminded me of two thoughts I had heading into the World Cup: 1) This is Anthony Davis’ coming out party, and 2) Kenneth Faried has to be on the team. Today proved that if the Manimal and AD are working in tandem, it’ll take a force of nature (or Spain’s front line) to stop them.