Durant Leads Team USA Past Slovenia
One figures forward Kevin Durant will end up having the highest average for Team USA at the World Championship. And Sunday offered no indication that won't happen.
The Oklahoma City forward scored 22 points in 23 minutes, leading the Americans to a 99-77 rout of Slovenia at Abdi Ipekci Arena and raising their record to 2-0 in Group B. Durant didn't play in the fourth quarter.
Slovenia was pesky for a while, trailing just 28-23 in the second quarter and being within 42-30 after scoring the first basket of the second half. But Team USA then turned it on with a 19-5 spurt to go up 61-35. Slovenia did close within 63-46 but soon ran out of gas.
Durant, who averaged an NBA-high 30.1 points last season for the Thunder, had 14 points in 21 minutes in the opener Saturday, a 106-78 win over Croatia. His tournament scoring average now stands at 18.0 to easily lead the Americans.
Forward Rudy Gay added 16 points for Team USA and forward Andre Iguodala and guard Russell Westbrook each had 11. Guard Eric Gordon, who had a team-high 16 points against Croatia, manged just six points on 2-of-9 shooting after starting 0-of-7.
It felt like a home game for Slovenia, which has brought more than 4,000 fans to Istanbul. The fans sang their national anthem and were quite loud throughout. They even did the wave with their team trailing 83-61 with 4:15 left in the game.
Team USA next faces Brazil on Monday, and a win would all but wrap up Group B. The Americans then close group play by facing featherweights Iran and Tunisia.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter@christomasson