There’s nothing to really take from Team USA opening their Basketball World Cup campaign in Group C with a 114-55 win over Finland, showing just how far some nations are in this sport from the best league and players in the world, led by Anthony Davis and Klay Thompson, who didn’t really feel like taking it easy on a team clearly out of its league.
That attitude was present in the second quarter, with Finland unable to score a single field goal in those 10 minutes, finishing with two points from the free throw line. The defense eased up in the second half as the rotations started getting weirder and less serious, allowing the Finnish team to score a total of 37 points to feel at least a bit competitive in a game that was anything but.
A World Cup debut for Finland that didn’t go well, as expected. They missed all of their 17 shots in the second quarter and had a streak of 19 consecutive missed field goals until Tuukka Kotta ended the drought with a basket with 8:48 remaining in the third that made it 62-20. Stephen Curry, who had a rough shooting night, which didn’t really matter, said that the coaching staff kept motivating the players in the second quarter by noting that the Finnish side still has only two points in the period.
In terms of atmosphere, this felt like a tough road game for team USA. Finland got loud cheers with every basket, not that they had too many of them. This might be a source of motivation for the American team, sending their youngest squad ever (average age of just over 24) since they began sending professional players to the international tournaments. The athleticism, speed, size and ability were on display and too hard to ignore of how disparity ruled over every second in the game.
Klay Thompson led the team with 18 points, including 4-of-7 from beyond the arc. Taking too many 3’s, knowing it doesn’t really matter, the team finished with just 6-of-18, with Stephen Curry missing all five attempts. Anthony Davis, who had the highest efficiency rating of all players finished with 17 points and four rebounds, easily getting his way near the basket, which usually ended with easy 2’s or going to the line, where he hit all of his five shots.
DeMarcus Cousins grabbed 10 rebounds and added nine points in his performance off the bench, as no one played less than 10 minutes but no more than 23, which went to Derrick Rose, scoring 12 points but turning the ball over five times. He had a few impressive moves that got some wow’s and oo’s from the crowd, but considering the weak opposition, it’s nothing to be too impressed about.