USA cruises past Finland in World Cup opener, 114-55

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Well, the crowd from Finland was impressive — roughly 8,000 Finnish fans cheering on their team.

But it gets really quiet when 8,000 people go silent.

That happened in the second quarter when Finland shot 0-of-17 from the floor and the USA won the quarter 29-2 on their way to the expected thrashing of Finland in both team’s World Cup openers, 114-55. The USA shot 58.9 percent for the game, compared to 27.7 percent for Finland, which could not deal with the American’s defensive pressure.

Next up for the USA is Turkey on Sunday (ESPN 3:30 pm). That’s a rematch of the 2010 World Championship finals, but Turkey is a shell of that former team.

Saturday Klay Thompson scored 18 points and Anthony Davis had 17 to lead the USA. Every USA player got double-digit minutes and scored. DeMarcus Cousins came off the bench to grab 10 rebounds.

Among the bright spots for the USA was Derrick Rose looked the best he has since the Chicago exhibition game, scoring 12 points and having a couple vintage Rose drives. Rudy Gay also added 10 points.

FIBA is the world’s 39th ranked team and the lowest ranked team ever to get invited to the World Cup via a FIBA “wild card” invite. It showed on the court as the team started 0-of-13 from three and were down 31-16 after the first quarter — and that was Finland’s best quarter.

Finland is here because their fans travel well (good gate revenue for FIBA) and because Finnish company Rovio— you know them as the maker of the Angry Birds game, — offered FIBA free advertising. FIBA likes its money.

The fans seemed to enjoy themselves… for a quarter, anyway.

For the USA this was a nice start, but things get a little more serious on Sunday, against Omer Asik and the rest of the Turkish team. That still should be a comfortable USA win, but not quite Finland comfortable.