US rolls over Slovenia
Durant leads way with 22 points
Kevin Durant scored 22 points and reserve Kevin Love added 10 points and 11 rebounds as the United States beat Slovenia, 99-77, yesterday in Group B play at the basketball world championship in Istanbul.
Rudy Gay finished with 16 points for the Americans (2-0), while Russell Westbrook and Andre Iguodala each had 11. Durant shot 8 of 13 before sitting out the fourth quarter.
Bostjan Nachbar scored 13 points for Slovenia (1-1), which had an enormous edge in the stands but not enough to match the Americans on the court.
“They did a great job of fighting, getting stops, and making plays, and we know that we can’t go out here and blow every team out,’’ Durant said. “We had to make this a grind game and we did that, and [we did] a good job of keeping our composure.’’
The Americans made eight of their first 11 shots from the field and led, 23-11, after one quarter, then suddenly went cold in the second, not making a field goal for the first 6 1/2 minutes of the period, allowing Slovenia to crawl within 28-23.
Westbrook snapped the United States out of that drought with a basket, then fed Love for another to start an 8-0 spurt that built the lead back to 36-23.
Slovenian fans, many dressed in green shirts, lined the streets outside the arena some 90 minutes before tipoff. They filled large areas throughout the building, and stood and roared when the Slovenians came out for warm-ups.
There wasn’t as much for them to cheer about once the game started.
“We’re used to that playing in Spain and Greece, so it was cool,’’ Durant said.
The Americans face Brazil tonight, then have an off day before their final two games in group play.
Group A — Miguel Lutonda had 16 points and Angola (1-1) bounced back from a 50-point loss to Serbia in its opening game to defeat Jordan, 79-65. Jordan (0-2), which was coming off a 76-75 loss to Australia in its opener, got within 59-55 on a 3-pointer by Mousa Alawadi with 4:38 to play. Lutonda answered with a 3-pointer 29 seconds later and Jordan got no closer . . . Jan-Hendrik Jagla hit a desperation 3-pointer to beat the shot clock with 1:03 left in the second overtime and Germany held on for an 82-81 victory over Serbia. After four free throws pulled Serbia within 82-81, Milenko Tepic of Serbia missed a layup with three seconds left. Jagla finished with 22 points and nine rebounds for Germany (1-1). Kosta Perovic had 20 points for Serbia (1-1) . . . Pablo Prigioni hit a 3-pointer with 33 seconds left and Luis Scola converted two late free throws for Argentina in a 74-72 victory over Australia. Scola finished with 31 points for Argentina (2-0).
Group B — Roko Ukic and Bojan Bogdanovic each scored 13 points for Croatia in its 75-54 rout of Iran. Hamed Haddadi had 27 points for Iran (0-2) . . . Leandro Barbosa scored 21 points and Tiago Splitter added 16 to lead Brazil (2-0) to an 80-65 victory over Tunisia, which received 15 points from Marouan Kechrid.
Group C — Yi Jianlian scored 26 points and Wang Shipeng added 25 for China (1-1) in its 83-73 victory over Ivory Coast. Mouloukou Diabate had 20 points for Ivory Coast (0-2) . . . Vassilis Spanoulis scored 28 points to lead Greece (2-0) to an 83-80 victory over Puerto Rico in a game that saw four lead changes and three ties in the fourth quarter. Former Northeastern star Juan Jose Barea had 20 points for Puerto Rico (0-2) . . . Hedo Turkoglu scored 14 points to lead Turkey (2-0) to a 65-56 victory over Russia (1-1).
Group D — Linas Kleiza had 18 points and 10 rebounds for Lithuania (2-0), which rallied from a 17-point deficit in the second half to defeat Canada, 70-68. Jermaine Anderson missed a last-second 3-pointer for Canada (0-2) . . . Mickael Gelabale scored 18 points and Alain Koffi added 17 to lead France (2-0) to an 85-59 victory over Lebanon (1-1) . . . Defending champion Spain bounced back from its opening-day loss to France by defeating New Zealand, 101-84. Ricky Rubio had 11 assists for Spain (1-1), which opened the game on a 13-3 run and finished 10 of 20 from 3-point range and 21 of 25 at the free throw line. Marc Gasol led Spain with 22 points, while Rudy Fernandez added 12 points and 12 rebounds. Kirk Penney scored 21 points to lead New Zealand (0-2).