Eric Gordon: Team USA can win the tournament, but needs a faster start
Eric Gordon, the Clippers' shooting guard and a reserve on Team USA, will be a guest blogger for the Fabulous Forum during the FIBA World Championship tournament in Turkey. On Monday the USA nipped Brazil, 70-68, in their toughest game so far. Gordon played five minutes, missed both his three-point shots and was scoreless. Here are his impressions of the game as well as some other tidbits from the day:
Brazil, they played played really good [Monday], and their guards played very well. Coach [Mike] Krzyzewski told us before the game if they execute their stuff that they could win. We knew they were going to give us a good run. Brazil is the toughest team we’ve faced, and it came down to the last shot.
We still need to get some better play from our bench, and play a more well-rounded game. We have two more games to work on that. Coach K likes the way I play. The only thing he said to me was, don’t put too much pressure on myself.
After the game, Coach K also said we also need to get off to better starts. (Team USA was down by six points after the first quarter against Brazil.)
Kevin Durant always puts on a good show. That guy can score in multiple ways. If they have somebody shorter on him, he can post up, or he can shoot over them. He’s so tall.
But Chauncey Billups was the guy I was watching the most today. He had the ball in key moments and had to make a tough bucket at the end of the game.
One thing that is different is how the referees call the game in international play. We’ll go to the basket and think, ‘That’s a foul.’ We’re used to getting that call in the NBA. But they’re not going to call it a foul here unless it really affects your shot. Because of that, we might take a couple quick shots on the defensive end and try to get a couple steals.
Today, before the game, we didn’t really change up our routine. We tried to keep everything the same.
We had shoot-around about noon and went over the things Brazil was going to do.
The food here is close to American food, it’s chicken and steak and pork chops, a bit different, but not much.
Tomorrow we might get to do some sightseeing, if I can get up. I’m still trying to get my rest. We got another two games, back to back (Wednesday vs. Iran and Thursday vs. Tunisia). I do see a lot of old, interesting buildings around here though.
We can win the tournament. I’ve been convinced of that before we got here, and after we played Spain and Greece in exhibitions. We expect a lot of ourselves. I’ll be a little disappointed if we don’t win it.
Photo: Kevin Durant goes to the rim for the USA in a win over Brazil on Monday in Istanbul, Turkey. Credit: Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press.