With Turkey trotting a lineup consisting of just one NBA player and 11 Turkish professionals, the United States was expected to easily cruise to a blowout victory. Instead the Turks gave the USA all it could handle, as the Americans overcame a five-point halftime deficit to win the game 98-77.
The United States had offensive struggles from the opening tipoff. Turkey mostly sat back into a zone, and the USA was content to sit back and fire up three-point shots. But the Americans struggled from beyond the arc to start, going 1/9 from three in the first quarter. Turkey struggled on the offensive end as well, mainly due to Anthony Davis cutting off numerous pick and roll attempts. The quarter ended with both teams deadlocked at 16 points.
Stephen Curry opened up the second quarter with a three, but the teams continued to go back and forth until a little over eight minutes in, when Turkey splashed back-to-back threes to take a six-point lead. At halftime the USA found itself facing a five-point deficit that only the most optimistic of Turkey fans could have predicted.
The USA big men began to take over in the second half, as Kenneth Faried and Anthony Davis combined to score 15 of the first 19 American points of the quarter, and with 5:20 to go in the third Faried threw down a lob from James Harden that pulled the United States in front for the first time since the early second quarter. A Turkey three-pointer a couple of minutes later tied the game at 59, but that was the last time Turkey came close to the lead. The United States took a 66-60 lead into the fourth, and then began the quarter on a 10-0 run that stifled any hopes of a Turkish comeback.
Faried was the game-high scorer with 22 points and eight rebounds, while Davis added 19 points and six boards. James Harden contributed 14 points and a game-high seven assists. Cenk Akyol led Turkey with 12 points and four rebounds, and New Orleans Pelican Omer Asik totaled six points and eight rebounds.
The United States has an off day tomorrow, but will resume group play Tuesday morning against New Zealand at 10:30 a.m. on ESPN.