Eric Gordon: It's time to lay it on the line for the gold
Eric Gordon, the Clippers' shooting guard and a reserve on Team USA, is a guest blogger for the Fabulous Forum during the FIBA World Championship tournament in Turkey. On Saturday, Kevin Durant scored a U.S. record of 38 points in an 89-74 semifinal victory over Lithuania. Gordon finished with three points, four rebounds, one steal and one assist in 18 minutes of play, although he missed a breakaway dunk after making a steal. Team USA will play the winner of Serbia and Turkey on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. Pacific time. Here are Gordon’s impressions of the game:
We're ready for the championship game. We're going to lay it on the line tomorrow and go for the gold medal. We're ready for the next game.
Against Lithuania we just weren't in the offensive flow that well. Defense has really helped us when we've struggled with our offense in the tournament and that's what we counted on Saturday. They knocked down some open three-pointers to kind of get back into the game in the third quarter, which is something we definitely didn't want them to do. But we eventually took them out of almost everything they wanted to do.
Kevin Durant is the type of player that can carry you because he's so hard to guard. He's the kind of guy that can give you a basket any which way. The other team has to have a guy that has some length and is athletic, or Kevin is going to continue to score.
I really don't know how I missed that dunk. I was high enough, but we've missed a lot of dunks over here. The rim seems to bounce more than we're used to. I'm going to continue to try to knock down the shots that come my way. I'm glad Coach K (Mike Krzyzewski) shows confidence in me. I'm just here to keep on playing and staying solid. I'm mostly helping on the defensive end, trying to get steals and keep their guards from getting easy shots.
Now we just have to get back to the hotel and get our rest. Whomever we play tomorrow, we just have to be prepared. It's a late game (9:30 p.m. in Turkey), so we have enough time to prepare for them tomorrow. I'm sure we'll watch some film and get the scouting report and game plan like usual between 11 a.m. and noon.
Physically, I feel pretty good. It's not that bad. The games are a little bit shorter than an NBA game (40 minutes compared to 48), and although the FIBA style is more fast-paced and physical than an NBA game, it's not like we've been playing in these conditions for an NBA-length season. We've been preparing ourselves for the more physical style of play and you adjust to it as you keep on playing in that type of environment.
Whomever we play, each team will try to represent their country the best they can. If Turkey wins tonight, it'll definitely be the most hostile environment we've faced. It's a big gym and their fans just might get crazy. It'll be interesting to see what type of atmosphere and how tough a game it will be.
I've always wanted to be part of a USA team, to represent my country. I thought I might eventually make a team, but not this early in my career. I'm prepared to do what it takes to help the team win the gold.
-- Eric Gordon
Photo: U.S. guard Eric Gordon looks to pass after driving against Lithuania in Saturday's FIBA World Championship semifinal game in Istanbul. Credit: Mustafa Ozer / AFP / Getty Images