With golden confetti raining on their heads and “Party in the U.S.A.” ringing in their ears, it must have been hard for U.S. basketball players to hear much.
The United States romped to their fifth basketball World Cup title after overcoming an early deficit to overwhelm the tournament’s surprise package Serbia 129-92 in a one-sided final on Sunday.
That doesn’t matter. They had stopped listening long ago. All the questions about their talent were brushed aside as easily as their opponents at the FIBA Basketball World Cup.
“It kind of was, again, again, a smack to our face, saying the U.S. was sending the B-team to go play in the World Cup,” said U.S. forward Kenneth Faried, who plays for the Denver Nuggets. “Just because LeBron’s not here, Kobe’s not here, (Kevin) Durant’s not here, doesn’t mean anything. We can step up and win the gold, too.”
Kyrie Irving made all six of his three-point shots and scored 26 points, and the United States repeated as world champion for the first time by beating Serbia 129-92 in Sunday’s final.
The Americans, a collection of NBA players, shot 57.7 percent from the field, outrebounded Serbia 44-32 and made a mere eight turnovers.
Cleveland Cavaliers guard Irving, voted the tournament’s most valuable player, was 10 of 13 from the field. James Harden of the Houston Rockets added 23 points on 8-for-11 shooting.
“I think the results were dominant, but we had spurts of dominance in a lot of games,” said U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski, best known as Duke’s coach. “And we had tough games and then all of a sudden we’d have a spurt and it looked like we dominated.
“Tonight we had, like, about a 35-minute spurt.”