Aug 162010
 

August 16 Philadelphia Daily News

“The world championships are a big deal to most of the countries that play basketball. It has never been a particularly big deal in the United States. The Olympics have always been the tournament to Americans.

And you can tell the emphasis by the records. The USA has won just three of 15 world championships since they were first contested in 1950. The all-time record is 105-27. The USA has won 13 of 16 Olympic golds. The all-time record is 122-5.

The 2010 U.S. team for the world championships leaves tomorrow for Madrid, where it will play two exhibition games and train before it goes to Athens for more training and another exhibition. The tournament begins in Istanbul, Turkey on Aug. 28.

The A-listers who won the 2008 Olympic gold are not playing. No LeBron, Kobe, Melo, D-Wade or Dwight Howard. This B-list USA team has just one A-lister – Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant. In its first game together, it was more than good enough to crush France, 86-55, yesterday at Madison Square Garden.

Rudy Gay (19 points and several vicious dunks) and Chauncey Billups (17 points and still very cool) were the stars for the U.S. team. France’s best player was seated across from his country’s bench with his wife. Tony Parker and Eva Longoria Parker were the A-list celebrities in a jammed Garden.

The Sixers’ Andre Iguodala started at small forward for Mike Krzyzewski’s team. He took just two shots and scored two points. He was, however, quite effective, getting three steals and blocking a shot. He got his only basket after tipping an attempted lob pass from Yannick Bokolo, outrunning him for the loose ball and then sprinting down the right side for a flying dunk.

“Every night, I think we’re going to have a different guy lead us in scoring,” Iguodala said. “If we play the right, smart way, we’re going to beat a lot of teams. We’re going to beat every team.””

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