Durant steals show for Team USA

07.25.10 8 years ago 29 Comments

Kevin Durant (photo. Jared McMillen)

If you were already nervous or unsure about Team USA’s gold-medal chances at the upcoming World Championship, then Saturday night’s intra-squad scrimmage didn’t make you feel any better. This much we did learn: Kevin Durant could get buckets in a dark room against the monster/mutant things from I Am Legend, Rudy Gay and Derrick Rose might be the two best athletes in the NBA, Eric Gordon and O.J. Mayo can shoot the sh*t out of the ball, Rajon Rondo is a magician with the rock, and Andre Iguodala would be so much better if he were the Pippen to somebody else’s Jordan … But we already knew that. So all we really learned last night was that this squad has a long ways to go in terms of getting to know each other and developing some kind of chemistry — a familiar problem that plagued Team USA in the dark years from 2002 until about 2007 … Amidst all the turnovers, miscommunications and sloppy play, Durant still shined, dropping 28 points (10-17 FG) in 29 minutes in the White team’s blowout win over the Blue. On his first touch KD swooped in from the wing and used a textbook Euro Step on his way to a dunk, and it was on from there. Durant was given the MVP — yes, somebody sponsored an MVP award for a scrimmage — and his trophy looked like a basic glass vase you’d find at somebody’s grandma’s house. Durant even gave it a look like, “What am I supposed to do with this?” That’s 100 percent getting left in his hotel room … It was KD’s night, but we wouldn’t have been mad at D-Rose getting the MVP. He put up 15 points, 8 assists and 5 steals … One old Team USA problem this squad shouldn’t have to worry about is outside shooting. Iguodala (17 pts), Gordon (16 pts), Gay (23 pts), Mayo (18 pts), Stephen Curry, Danny Granger and even Kevin Love were trading bombs all night. Gordon’s form is almost nothing like Ray Allen‘s, but it’s almost as pretty. With Blake Griffin and Chris Kaman commanding attention on the block in L.A., Gordon could have a monster season ahead of him … We know it wasn’t a “real” game, but would it have killed ESPN to — if not send some announcers to Vegas instead of having them call it from a studio — at least get some announcers who watch the NBA? Kevin Connors and Fran Fraschilla were kind of terrible. Connors couldn’t tell Tyreke Evans (DNP-ankle) from Iguodala, or Rondo from Crash Wallace. And one time Fraschilla said Al Jefferson had been traded to the Nuggets (nobody corrected him). Where’s Mark Jackson when you need him? Mike Breen? Doris Burke? Anybody? … One unintentionally funny announcer moment: Connors said Iguodala signed an $82 million contract a couple years ago, which Fraschilla followed up by calling Iguodala a “quietly effective” player. That’s what you wanna hear as a Philly fan … If any Team USA opponent was watching, we’d imagine “Foul Tyson Chandler” was near the top of their scouting report … Spotted in the crowd: Deron Williams, Clyde Drexler, Chris Mullin and some legit TALENT all over the place. That’s why the NBA needs a team in Vegas … You can say this much about JaVale McGee: He looked like he belonged. As soon as he checked in McGee got a dunk and a layup, then went back-to-the-basket and threw in an ugly scoop/hook-looking thing off the glass. He started the second half for the Blue team and by then was trying turnaround fadeaways. He might not make the World Championship roster, but everything is pointing to McGee having a breakout season for the Wizards … Brook Lopez just cannot catch a break. Being stuck on that crappy Nets squad all season was bad enough, but then the two times Brook gets to play with other stars, he still can’t get a W. He was part of the Sophomores team that was upset in the Rookie Challenge during All-Star Weekend, and last night was on the losing Blue team. Just for Brook’s sanity, if he makes the roster we really hope Team USA can cop the gold in Turkey … In other news, Tim Thomas is reportedly close to re-signing with the Mavericks. As Chris Griffin would say, “How does he keep getting work?” … We still haven’t heard anything about the Heat reaching out to Allen Iverson, but apparently they were willing to take a chance on Stephon Marbury. Steph said Miami was interested in him, but he wasn’t interested in them. “They wanted a point guard,” he told a Chinese newspaper, “but I don’t think a point guard would do much in the team as they already have the three guys.” Um, OK. Steph has already gone on Twitter and said the story isn’t true, though. Not sure if he meant the part about him turning Miami down, or the part about Miami contacting him … We’re out like Lopez’s luck …

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