Why Team USA won: Kevin Durant. He absolutely owned the last three games of the World Championship, dropping 33 on Russia in the quarterfinals, 38 on Lithuania in the semis, and 28 on Turkey in the gold-medal finale. Everyone in the building knew KD would be the focal point, and yet most of his buckets today were standstill jump shots, as he was able to play catch-and-shoot and score within the flow of the Team USA offense. Durant hit five threes in the first half and scored 20 before the break. It looked like the U.S. was making a concerted effort to get a second scorer on-track to begin the second half, but when the first few possessions failed to produce, KD knocked down back-to-back threes to push the lead over 15 and pave the way for another convincing win.
Why Turkey lost: Response to defensive pressure. If you were playing for Turkey, it must have felt like there were six U.S. defenders out there. Even when Team USA wasn’t pressing, they gave up very few easy looks — cutting off driving lanes, tightening their pick-and-roll D, and challenging almost every shot. Hedo Turkoglu looked like he was poised for a big night in the first quarter, but was shut down as the game went on and was a non-factor when Turkey gave up big runs. When Turkey couldn’t get inside, they were left to settle for low-percentage shots like long three-pointers and fadeaways from mid-range.
Key numbers: Kevin Durant (28 pts, 5 rebs, 3 stls, 7-13 3PA); Lamar Odom (15 pts, 6 rebs); Derrick Rose (8 pts, 5 asts); Russell Westbrook (13 pts); Hedo Turkoglu (16 pts, 7 rebs); Semih Erden (9 pts, 3 stls); Ersan Ilyasova (7 pts, 9 rebs); Field-goal shooting (Turkey 36%, USA 44%).