Team USA cruised to a 96-68 win over Lithuania to reach the gold medal game in the FIBA World Cup, but things got plenty heated along the way.
DeMarcus Cousins almost lost his mind after catching an elbow to the throat from Jonas Valanciunas, and Rudy Gay was sent to the locker room in the third quarter after being on the receiving end of one himself.
It was plays like those which caused the two teams to get into it a bit once the final buzzer had sounded, and Gay in particular is still holding a grudge after what he called a “dirty play” that resulted in a late night trip to the dentist.
From Sam Amick of USA Today:
“I’ve got a fracture in my jaw, a broken tooth and am going to probably need a root canal,” Gay told USA TODAY Sports. “The top is where I got hit. It’s painful. It’s uncomfortable, and it still bleeds, so I’ve got to continuously gargle. It is what it is, man.” …
“I think (the elbow) had a little bit to do with (the situation afterward),” Gay said. “It was a dirty play, man. It was a dirty play.” …
Long after the skirmish died down, Gay had to get his mouth worked on until 2 a.m. early Friday morning in Barcelona before flying to Madrid hours later.
Gay is fine in terms of his availability for Sunday’s contest, and a certain level of physicality is to be expected at times. But if things should get unusually chippy against Serbia on Sunday, the way that Team USA handles it will be interesting to watch.