Eric Gordon: Team USA beats Russia, advances to semifinals
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 beat Russia, 89-79. Gordon scored six points, got two rebounds, one assist and a steal in 14 minutes of play. Team USA will play Lithuania in the semifinals Saturday. Here are Gordon’s impressions of the game, plus some other tidbits from the day:
Russia played really hard against us early and forced us into a lot of tough shots. We got off to a slow start and weren’t making shots like we normally would, and they were making shots from everywhere.
Their center, Timofey Mozgov, who was signed by the Knicks, is pretty good, and Russia’s guard play was really good.
But we had a spurt. We just made some good baskets late in the third and early in the fourth.
I played decently. I didn’t make any spectacular numbers, but I think I was solid.
It was really loud Thursday at the arena. Usually our games are not as packed, but we kind of like playing in front of crowds like that; there were 10,000-plus here. The ball we’re using in this tournament also feels a little lighter, just a little, than an NBA ball.
Chauncey Billups likes to lead our team by example. (Billups scored 15 points against Russia.) And Kevin Durant, he can do a little bit of it all on the court. He’s hard to guard at that position. (Durant scored 33 on Thursday.)
Coack K (Mike Krzyzewski) said after the game we played really good and he was just glad to get this win. We’re looking forward to the next one.
We play Lithuania Saturday, and that should be an interesting game.
On the other half of the draw, Turkey is looking really tough. I don’t see them losing there.
The last couple days here I’ve just been working out with my trainer and have been hanging out with two older friends visiting from Indiana. I wish I could have had some family members come.
On a 1-to-10 scale, I’d still give our team an eight for its play.
Now we know what to expect and will have to grind it out the last two games of the tournament.
Our chances of winning? I feel like we’re really close. The games are back-to-back Saturday and Sunday.
How will be celebrate if we win? I don’t know yet.
-- Eric Gordon
Photo: Team USA's Russell Westbrook and Russia's Anton Ponkrashov in Thursday's quarterfinals match in Istanbul, Turkey. Credit: Behrouz Mehri / AFP / Getty Images