At this point, the lackadaisical and inconstant play against inferior opponents is getting old. Team USA defeated Russia 89-79 Thursday at the Sinan Erdem Dome, but it wasn’t as easy or swift as it should have been.
With the victory, the Americans advanced to the semifinals of the FIBA World Championship where they will play the winner of today's Lithuania-Argentina game.
Team USA's biggest star, Kevin Durant, led the team with 33 points and a series of important buckets when they were trailing by five points in the second quarter. After hitting a 3-point shot that gave the U.S. a 79-61 lead with eight minutes remaining in the game, the usually quiet Durant gave the crowd and emphatic salute.
Guards Chauncey Billups and Russell Westbrook pitched in 15 and 12 points, respectively. Lamar Odom had a team-high 12 rebounds.
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Showing they hadn’t gotten this far strictly on luck, the Russians gave Team USA all it could handle in the first quarter as the two teams locked up in a 25-25 tie. New York Knicks centerTimofey Mozgov had nine of his 13 points in that first quarter. Russia outscored the U.S. 10-5 to start the second quarter, and took eventually took a 35-30 lead.
The lead was short lived, however. Team USA went on a 12-0 run to end the second quarter, and extended a 44-39 halftime lead to 75-56 by the end of the third.
Russian guard, Sergey Bykov led the team with 17 points. Forward, Andrey Vorontsevich chipped in 14 points.
Team USA and Russia squared off exactly...
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