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Team USA Goes Undefeated in Group Play, Derrick Rose Looking Confident and Healthy

September 4th, 2014 at 3:18 PM
By Christopher Terzic

As expected, Team USA ran through the competition in their five games of group play in the FIBA World Cup, finishing a perfect 5-0 after today’s 95-71 victory over Ukraine. Winning every game by at least 20 points and by an average margin of 27 points, Team USA leaves Group C as a No. 1 seed going into the Round of 16.

The entire World Cup has an off day tomorrow, but play resumes Saturday. However, controversy in Group D occurred earlier today when Australia allegedly lost their game against Angola purposely to manipulate their seeding in the Round of 16. If you wanted a true World Cup, then how much more FIFA-like does it get than a match fixing allegation?

As of now, the US will play Mexico who is the No. 4 seed out of Group D. But Australia, who was accused but not confirmed of throwing their game against Angola wanted to lose in order to become the No. 3 seed in Group D and to ensure the outcome of Lithuania-Slovenia (also in Group D) would have no effect on the Aussies. As the No. 3 seed, Australia avoids playing Team USA until the semifinals of the tournament–which is the logic behind losing purposely–if both teams were to advance that far.

Team USA being indirectly involved in this controversy won’t phase their plans of obtaining a gold medal, but what will hinder their gold medal aspirations is continually starting slow in the first half of games. In their last four games, Team USA was either tied or losing at the end of the first quarter in two of those contests. While a team like Australia is concerned with Team USA’s firepower and talent, a team like Spain has certainly taken a finer notice to their lackadaisical starts.

As for Chicago’s star point guard Derrick Rose, the best news of all is that he survived five games in six days without sitting out for rest or getting hurt. In fact, in today’s game against Ukraine, Rose looked as though his burst and agility were better than his previous two games. He pushed the ball in the open court and continued to attack strongly towards the basket, displaying quicker bounce rather than the sluggishness we’ve seen recently.

The bad news for Rose is that he’s shooting an extremely poor 25 percent from the field, and a measly 10 percent from 3-point range. His shot, finishing ability, and timing are clearly not there for him right now. So the optimistic view would be that while he’s adjusting physically and in his cardiovascular conditioning, his play will suffer but should rebound over time.

In the mean time, we’ll continue to chronicle Rose’s progress and view it through a lens of objectivity and mindfulness that playing for Team USA will serve a better purpose once the regular season is upon us.

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Tags: Angola, Australia, Chicago, Chicago Bulls, Derrick Rose, FIBA World Cup, Lithuania, NBA, Slovenia, Spain, Team USA

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