A day after making several cuts to the USA World Championship Team, veteran Chauncey Billups and rising star Rudy Gay led Team USA to a 86-55 victory over France during the team’s first official exhibition game.
The FIBA World Championship games loom, as the United States team looks to win its first FIBA World championship since 1994.
Led by Billups (Denver Nuggets) who scored 17 points and Gay (Memphis Grizzlies) who came off the bench with 19 points, Team USA displayed an overwhelming amount of speed from every position on the court. With just one true center on the team, Team USA will utilize team quickness over length and height.
It took some time for Team USA to develop any rhythm, as France kept it close throughout the first half until Gay responded with several outstanding plays on the offensive side of the ball.
(Coach told us) just to continue to play solid (at halftime), said USA center Tyson Chandler (Dallas Mavericks). Continue to allow our defense to turn into offense. In the game the other day, we did a good job of kind of playing simple defense. And not doing so much gambling. And we gambled at the right times. I think tonight we did that. That’s why we were able to bust the lead open.
The next several weeks will tell a lot about Team USA’s chances of winning their first FIBA World games in over 16 years.
One of the most pertinent issues has been the lack of height on the team, but it may be a balanaced roster and team continuity that gives the United States an advantage over the likes of Greece and Spain, powerhouses of international play.
With players like Chauncey Billups, Keving Durant, and Rudy Gay, Team USA looks to be in good hands thus far.