Eric Gordon: Leads Team USA in win over Tunisia
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. On Thursday the USA overcame a sluggish start to beat Tunisia, 92-57, in their final first-round game. Gordon played 25 minutes, led the team in scoring with 21 points, and hit four of seven three-point shots. Team USA, a top seed, starts the knockout round Monday when it plays fourth-seeded Angola. Here are Gordon’s impressions of the game, plus some other tidbits from the day:
I wasn’t hitting my shots the past couple of days. It was good to get back in rhythm. I knew as I was shooting before the game that I was going to play well. I can tell when I’m in rhythm before a game. Making three-point shots in this tournament has been a little easier. It’s a lot different from the NBA three-point line; it’s a lot shorter. But the other team can have a good chance to get a hand up because the spacing is not as big an NBA three-point shot.
Angola is a really athletic team. We saw them play twice. They are capable of beating of anybody, and they play kind of a similar style to us.
If 10 is a perfect grade, I guess I’d say our team is playing at about an eight. Defense is the No. 1 thing for us. There are still some things we need to work on, cutting turnovers and getting rhythm and more open shots.
We have three days before our next game. Coach (Mike) Krzyzewski said to just be prepared. We need to get together for a good hard effort the rest of the way.
With the referees coming from different countries, that’s been one of the interesting things about this whole thing. They probably don’t know what we’re saying on the court and we don’t know what they’re saying. So the best thing is not to even talk after a call. In the NBA we talk to the refs the whole game. It sure is a lot quieter. You really can’t say much.
Tonight I plan to hang out with my teammates a little bit. Tomorrow is an off day before we have practice the next two days. I’ll probably get in a little work, lifting weights, shooting, even a bit of running. It’s been warm every day, with temperatures in the 80s.
I like everything about Istanbul. There’s a lot of historical buildings. I’ve never seen that many out of all the countries I’ve been too. And it’s a really crowded city. You see people packed on the sidewalks everywhere.
Going into the knockout stage, I’m very confident. I think we’re rolling pretty good. We need to use our talent, use it collectively, all together.
The other best teams in the tournament? You can’t ever put anything past Spain -- they’re not an easy team to beat. And looking at Turkey, they’re not an easy team to beat, either. Those two teams, and Serbia, too.
-- Eric Gordon
Photo: Eric Gordon goes to basket against Tunisia's Salah Mejri on Thursday. Credit: Tolga Bozoglu / EPA