The round of 16 has started as team USA took on Mexico. After a few slow starts Team USA came out with better energy in the 1st quarter. They opened the game with a 13-2 run.
It was a strong start but Mexico fought back and went on a run of their own. Kenneth Faried was the energy guy as he had four points to go along with four rebounds, three of them on the offensive end. Stephen Curry is finding his groove as he knocked down two quick three pointers. He added another one in the 2nd quarter to give him 9 points in the half. I wanted to see if Anthony Davis would come out aggressive and he took three shots in the quarter but only hit one. At the end of the quarter team USA was up 23-13.
The bench has played well for team USA throughout group play but today they only got seven points out of Klay Thompson who has been a consistent player. Team USA is shooting the three ball a lot better as they went into the half 6-14 (42.9%) from beyond the arc. Mexico did throw a zone at team USA and that slowed them down midway through the 2nd quarter. There was no ball movement and too much isolation. The scoring was balanced as James Harden got it going in the 2nd quarter and he finished the half leading the team in scoring with 12 points. Curry knocked down 3 threes for 9 points and Faried continued to attack the boards and went into halftime with 8 points and 7 rebounds; 5 of them on the offensive end. After leaving the game against Ukraine with an injury, Kyrie Irving started, looked fine but did not impact the game. Team USA entered the half with a 42-27 lead.
Stephen Curry was feeling it in the 3rd quarter. He assisted Irving on the first basket of the quarter. He then went on a personal 11 point run, including three 3s. After Curry sat down DeMarcus Cousins got it going as he went on a personal 9 point run. The defense was amazing as they limited Mexico to only 11 points in the quarter.
Team USA finally came out in the 4th with a big lead and knocked 3 quick triples. This is the first game in which they hit 10+ three pointers. Curry was 6-9 from beyond the arc and finished with a team high 20 points. The bench played much better in the second half, led by Klay Thompson, DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay. Derrick Rose struggled going 0-5 with 3 turnovers. The defense was not as solid in the 4th as they allowed Mexico to score 25 points in a quarter. They limited them to 13, 14 and 11 in previous quarters. Team USA was also sloppy with the ball in the final quarter. They won the game 86-63.
Anthony Davis struggled going 2-8 from the field. He missed a lot of easy shots but he was not needed down the stretch. The team went 13-29 from beyond the arc. It was the first time they hit at least 10 three pointers in a game. Curry and Thompson were a combined 9-18 from three point land. In a shocking stat, they only took five free throws in the game. They will play the winner of Slovenia/Dominican Republic on Tuesday in the Quarterfinals.