At least once during this World Championship tournament, Kevin Durant needed a game where he just went HAM on the comp and dropped ruthless buckets. Yesterday’s quarterfinal against Russia was that game. With “1972” written on his sneakers — an ode to the ’72 USA Olympic squad that got famously screwed against Russia — Durant scored 33 points (11-19 FG) in another convincing win that was actually close for about a half until the U.S. broke it open and won by 10 to advance to the Final Four. KD was getting transition and-ones, taking guys off the bounce, hitting step-backs and spinning into pull-up J’s. It was lethal. Maybe if Andrei Kirilenko had been around, it would have been different, but Russia otherwise didn’t have anybody who could hang with KD … Although Durant was the MVP of this one, Russell Westbrook deserves a nod for sparking the run that blew the game open in the third quarter. Westbrook had three steals, two dunks and a three-pointer in the quarter, not only adding to the lead but building Team USA’s momentum with every highlight. Chauncey Billups added 15 points, 5 dimes and 4 threes, and Lamar Odom pulled down 12 rebounds … We think Knicks fans are gonna like Timofey Mozgov (13 pts). Russia’s 7-footer can score in the paint and has a nose for the ball, but he’s also got a little edge and attitude to his game. He was throwing around sneers and glares all over the place … The shock wasn’t so much that Lithuania beat Argentina in the other quarterfinal (they face Team USA next), it’s that they beat them up. After Luis Scola registered the game’s first bucket, Swamp Thing wasn’t heard from again until the final 30 seconds of the first quarter, by which time his team was down double-digits and slipping. Lithuania’s Tomas Delininkaitis pushed the lead to a dozen with a mini-run of his own covering the end of the first and beginning of the second quarter, and it just got worse from there. At halftime it was a 20-piecing, midway through the third it was at 30, and, well, by then Argentina’s heart has already got on the plane back to South America … Scola finished an amazing tourney run with a quiet 13 points (5-16 FG), and although Carlos Delfino scored 25 points, 17 of them came in the second half, when the game was basically over … Update on the Matt Barnes case: According to ESPN, Barnes’ fiancee (the girl from “Basketball Wives”) is saying there was no domestic abuse. Barnes is still scheduled to be arraigned next week … The latest Carmelo Anthony trade rumors have ‘Melo going to the Bulls in a deal involving Joakim Noah. Problem is, the Nuggets would have to take Luol Deng — who’s not bad himself, but his $50 million over 4 years is a contract nobody wants — and Denver may be trying to find a way to dump J.R. Smith on Chicago too … All the pre-game concerts and day-long hype, and the thing people are talking about most following Opening Night of the NFL season is Ray Lewis‘ Old Spice commercial. Forget Brett Favre, Drew Brees, Taylor Swift, the Super Bowl banner unveiling, all of that; watching the scariest dude in football wearing a suit of shower suds was too jarring. On that note, what is the strangest basketball commercial you’ve ever seen? … We’re out like Mozgov …
Kevin Durant rains on Russia; Carmelo headed to Chicago?
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