After taking care of Brazil 95-78 in Chicago on Saturday night, the United States men's basketball team is heading to New York to face the Dominican Republic in another exhibition game.
Since roster spots are up for grabs, individual player performance will be key. Here is a look at the schedule and broadcast information for the showdown:
|Wednesday, Aug. 20||Madison Square Garden, New York City||7 p.m. ET||NBA TV|
The roster must be trimmed from 16 to 12 players before the actual FIBA Basketball World Cup takes place, and this game will help with that decision.
Interestingly, Gordon Hayward and DeMar DeRozan didn’t see the floor in the opener against Brazil. Center Andre Drummond didn’t play either, but DeMarcus Cousins is still dealing with a banged-up knee, so Drummond's spot appears safe.
Chandler Parsons (five minutes), Kyle Korver (three minutes) and Damian Lillard (two minutes) could also be on the chopping block. All offer three-point marksmanship, something head coach Mike Krzyzewski has a plethora of with Stephen Curry, James Harden and Klay Thompson leading the way.
Despite Team USA being guard-heavy, Anthony Davis was a force versus Brazil, playing a team-high 26 minutes and contributing 20 points, eight rebounds and five blocks. He consistently beat Nene, Tiago Splitter and Anderson Varejao down the floor, hit a handful of mid-range jumpers and patrolled the paint down low.
His performance inspired a telling quote from Coach K, via the Chicago Bulls’ Twitter account, and some praise from ESPN’s Mike Greenberg:
Coach K on Anthony Davis: "He's one of the best players in the NBA." He hopes this experience launches a storied career for him.— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) August 17, 2014
There aren't five basketball players in the world I'd rather have than Anthony Davis. There may not be three.— Mike Greenberg (@Espngreeny) August 18, 2014
Anytime you earn a compliment like that from the legendary Krzyzewski, it is worth noting.
In the Brazil game, James Harden scored 18 points with an array of outside jumpers and drives to the rim, and Derrick Rose looked explosive in the open floor. However, there is some concern with Rose heading into the exhibition with the Dominican Republic, via John Schuhmann of NBA.com:
Derrick Rose did not participate in the full practice today. It's likely that he will not start vs. DOM tomorrow.— John Schuhmann (@johnschuhmann) August 19, 2014
Before Bulls fans get too worried, it seems to be precautionary, per ESPN's Marc Stein:
No Derrick Rose in this Team USA practice on ESPN2. "Planned light day" and knees in ice for D-Rose after his United Center return SAT night— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) August 18, 2014
With Davis clicking down low and Harden, Rose, Curry, Lillard and Kyrie Irving on the outside, the Red, White and Blue will have no problems against the overmatched Dominican Republic.
American basketball fans will likely recognize Francisco Garcia, Edgar Sosa and Karl-Anthony Towns, who are all listed on the official Dominican Republic roster on the team’s FIBA website. Of the three, Towns, a freshman at Kentucky, may have the biggest impact versus Team USA down low with his 6'11", 211-pound frame.
Getting the win is one thing, but the players who could be on the bubble with a cut looming will certainly be looking to impress on an individual level as well.
Prediction: United State 105, Dominican Republic 78