BILBAO, Spain — Kenneth Faried scored 22 points, Anthony Davis all of his 19 in the second half, and the U.S. rebounded from a rare deficit at halftime to beat Turkey 98-77 on Sunday in the Basketball World Cup.
A night after beating Finland by 59 in its biggest rout ever while using NBA players in the former world championship, the Americans couldn’t take control against Turkey until early in the fourth quarter.
They trailed 40-35 at halftime and Turkey led by six early in the third before the Americans could finally get the game into the quicker tempo they prefer and pull away to win the rematch of the 2010 gold-medal game in Istanbul.
But it was a much tougher one than expected after the Americans hammered Finland 114-55 while Turkey was being outplayed for most of its opener by New Zealand before pulling out the victory.
James Harden added 14 points for the U.S.
It was tied at 59 with 3:10 left in the third before the Americans closed the period with a 7-1 burst to lead 66-60 after Faried’s basket. The U.S. then ran off 10 in a row to open the fourth and open a 76-60 cushion.
The Americans haven’t lost since the semifinals of the 2006 world championship and outside of their victories over Spain in the last two Olympic gold-medal games, haven’t been in danger much since then.
But they needed a long time to start looking like the team that is so considered the tournament favorite by so many.
It was 16-all after one, and Turkey controlled the tempo in the second quarter, getting to the foul line against a U.S. team that showed moments of frustration with the pace and some calls that went against them. Baris Hersek and Emir Preldzic made consecutive 3-pointers late in the half to give Turkey a 38-32 lead, and it was 40-35 when the teams went to the locker room.
Unable to force the turnovers or missed shots to get their transition game going, the Americans looked ordinary in the halfcourt. Davis, who scored 17 points in the opener and had been the Americans’ best player this summer, was scoreless with one rebounds in the half, playing just 10 1/2 minutes while picking up two fouls. Derrick Rose showed his timing still isn’t back after a nearly two-year absence, missing both shots, turning it over twice and not getting an assist.
Rose didn’t get back into the game until the U.S. had opened the big fourth-quarter lead.
The Americans are off Monday before continuing pool play Tuesday against winless New Zealand.
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