USA capped off their dominant run in the FIBA World Cup 2014 by cruising to an easy 129-92 win over Serbia, to claim the Gold Medal. This is their fifth world title and it is their first time as back-to-back champions. Prior to this only Brazil (1959, 1963) and Yugoslavia (1998, 2002) managed to repeat their claim of the top spot at the podium. The Americans won by an average of 32.5 points per game in the competition and were in no danger of elimination at any point in the competition. Serbia had a tougher road to the Final, only managing a 2-3 record at the end of the group stage, but they came away with some stunning upsets against some formidable teams.
Serbia put up a good effort and came out with an aggressive start, taking an early 10-5 advantage which forced the US team to call a timeout. USA seized the lead and the momentum with a 17-3 run anchored by World Cup MVP Kyrie Irving. The first period came to a close with the USA holding a four-point edge, 25-21. In the second quarter both Irving and Klay Thompson began to rain down threes and Serbia could not address their onslaught. The lead ballooned to 26 points (67-41) as both teams headed to their locker rooms for the halftime break.
The third quarter was a display of even more prolific shooting by the Americans from three-point range and Serbia could not match them point for point, let alone surpass their offensive output. Serbia fought valiantly but they were fighting a steep uphill battle, facing a lead that was far too great and held by a talented and well prepared team.
Kyrie Irving finished the game with 26 points and was a perfect 6-for-6 from downtown, to lead seven other members of Team USA who scored in double figures. James Harden scored the second most points in the contest with 23. On Serbia’s end, Nemja Bjelica and Nikola Klanic each scored 18 points to lead their team, while Bogdan Bogdanovic added 15 points of his own off the bench.
Here are some highlights from the championship game:
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FIBA World Cup 2014 All-Star Five
From left to right: Kenneth Faried (USA), Pau Gasol (ESP), Nicolas Batum (FRA), Kyrie Irving (USA), Milos Teodosic (SRB)