Team USA has received the 'B-team' nickname due to no members of the 2008 Beijing gold medal squad playing in Turkey for this 2010 FIBA worlds tournament.
We know that every team will try to make their FIBA tournament stay a memorable by beating Team USA. Coach Mike Krzyzewski will definitely keep this team focused and remind them of that.
‘We’re not taking anything for granted; we know that we can get beat here.’
And to emphasize that point, during the pregame warmups the arena video screens played the USA FIBA failures in 2002 and 2006
So they unleashed their 'A' Game on Croatia.
FIBA number 2 ranked Team USA had everybody score and five players in double figures led by Eric Gordon's 18 points and Kevin Durant's 16. They shot 55% from the field, only turned the ball over seven times, and lit it up at a 40% clip from three point range as they broke open a close contest in the second quarter and rolled to a 106-78 win.
The Croatians were playing in their first FIBA Worlds in 16 years. Bojan Bogdanovic scored 17 points and Marko Popovic added 16 for Croatia, which once was among the world's best teams but hadn't played in the world championship since winning a bronze medal in the 1994 FIBA Worlds in Toronto.
Thanks to the efforts of Ante Tomic, Bojan Bogdanovic and Luksa Andric they stayed in contact with Team USA. The Croatians hit the glass in the opening stanza for a 12-9 rebounding advantage and trailed 22-20 at the end of the quarter.
The teams traded baskets until a Kevin Durant dunk and subsequent three point play at the 8:52 mark of the second quarter triggered a 14-2 run that broke open the game and sent Team USA racing off to a 48-26 halftime lead. Croatia was held to six points thanks to Team USA's stifling defense.
After a Croatian turnover to open the third quarter, Andre Igoudala opened the scoring with a three pointer to extend the lead to 51-26. Team USA outscored Croatia 30-22 to build the halftime cushion to a 78-48 advantage at the end of the quarter.
The teams traded baskets in the fourth quarter to close out their opening Group B game as Coach K got the starters some rest and the rest of Team USA some FIBA game experience.
"People aren't expecting us to come out here and win, so we just wanted to make a statement and I think tonight we did," Kevin Durant said.
Team USA plays Slovenia tomorrow in an early showdown for the Group B lead. Slovenia beat down Tunisia in their FIBA tournament debut 80-56.
Team USA plays Brazil on August 30 and Iran on September 1 before closing group play September 2 against Tunisia.