The third and final exhibition for Team USA was by far the most “exhibition-like” game they’ve played thus far. Though team USA would be taking on a high-quality opponent in Greece, the game did not amount to much. Early in the second quarter, ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla would describe the game perfectly as he said that both teams were playing it “close to the vest”.

To start things off, Coach K went with the same lineup that got them off to a great start against Spain: Derrick Rose, Chauncey Billups, Kevin Durant, Andre Igoudala and Lamar Odom. Both teams got off to sluggish starts, and it could immediately be seen that the intensity that each country had been playing with (so much to the point Greece was in a brawl) just wasn’t there.

Nonetheless, Rose and Durant would get the Americans going on offense, as Rose continued to impress, knocking down another deep ball to show the world just how much his much-criticized jumper has improved. At this point, he’s arguably the MVP of the team. The different vibe of this game was also apparent when Coach K went to the bench just half-way through the first quarter. Krzyzewski made it a point to use the bench early and often, resting guys in preparation for their upcoming week of five games in six days. Doing so brought about one of my favorite lineups, the three-guard attack of Rose, Russell Westbrook and Eric Gordon.

That being said, the second unit struggled a bit. Tyson Chandler continued to struggle with the physical play of the international bigs and the task of having to step out to the three-point line to defend. At the end of one, Team USA led it 22-14.

See the rest over at Court Cred.

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