- National Teams
Team USA won their 5th FIBA World Cup on Sunday after beating Serbia 129-92 in Madrid to wrap up the tournament in style.
Kyrie Irving claimed the MVP award and led his side to victory with a 26-point haul with seven other players reaching double figures for the States. James Harden added 23 points while there were 12 point apiece for unsung heroes Klay Thompson and Kenneth Faried, 11 each for Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins with Steph Curry and DeMar DeRozan both scoring 10.
As for Serbia, they were led by 18 points from Nemanja Bjelica and Nikola Kalinic as the game quickly ran away from them. They were very efficient inside the arc shooting 62% but their overall percentage was down below 50 as they made just 5/20 from 3-point range in comparison to USA’s 15-30 success rate from downtown.
Hopes of a competitive final were raised in the early stages as Serbia made a strong start to lead 15-7 after the opening four minutes. All of a sudden, USA hit back with a quick 15-0 burst and the game changed. Irving and Thompson netted triples to take the lead beyond double figures and the score would become 35-21 after a high-energy opening quarter.
USA kept building their advantage in the second as they continued to take the game away from their opponents with an 11-1 run in the middle of the period. The three’s kept falling and when Harden landed another triple, the lead was out to an astonishing 30 points. Serbia closed with the last five points of the half but still found themselves way behind at 67-41.
The American onslaught was just relentless and Serbia did their best to keep the score respectable by edging away at the deficit. Irving came out on top in a 3-point duel with Bogdan Bogdanovic before USA powered past the century mark with over a minute left in the quarter, using a 13-4 run to near a 40-point cushion. Anthony Davis finished the third with 1/2 from the FT line with USA taking a commanding 105-67 lead into the final quarter.
The game had seemed to be over for some time but to their credit, Serbia continued to battle for pride and managed to win the fourth 25-24 as they had to settle for silver – a great achievement for the European nation.
USA’s lead never grew beyond 40 points as Serbia used a 9-1 run to halt their opponents. Curry nailed a trademark 3-point jumper while a tip-in from Andre Drummond would conclude the scoring with the clock running down in the final minute to officially confirm USA as the FIBA World Cup 2014 winners.
As mentioned above, Cleveland guard Irving was recognised as the best player in the tournament and was joined in the All-First Team by team-mate Faried while Serbia’s Milos Teodosic, France’s Nicolas Batum and the lone Spanish representative Pau Gasol completed the line-up.
Check out highlights of the final below:
USA were dominant from start to finish in Spain on their way to winning back-to-back World titles for the first time. They also become the first team to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.