Team USA’s starting frontcourt wound up bigger than most expected.
And the Americans didn’t hesitate to show off its advantages Tuesday.
Anthony Davis (18 points, nine rebounds, five blocks and three steals) and Kenneth Faried (14 points and eight rebounds) dominated Slovenia in a 101-71 exhibition win. Though many expected Team USA to use a stretch four next to Davis – and maybe it would have if Kevin Love, Kevin Durant or Paul George remained on the team – the Davis-Faried combo proved to be a real force.
That should continue against Finland on Saturday, when the Americans begin World Cup competition. They went 4-0 in pre-tournament tune-ups.
Team USA also features bigger-than-expected reserves, but DeMarcus Cousins, Andre Drummond and Mason Plumlee didn’t do much off the bench.
Another reserve who struggled Tuesday: Derrick Rose, who missed all three of his shots and had three turnovers to one assists. Rose’s uneven play leaves the door open for Kyrie Irving to remain the starting point guard.
Though the Americans were probably too talented for Slovenia in any case, Goran Dragic shot just 3-for-11, essentially closing any chance for an upset. His brother, Zoran Dragic, led the Slovenians with 16 points.