Irrespective of the quality of the foe that got smoked 114-55 and forced into 31 turnovers while mustering just five assists. Finland looked every bit the lowest-ranked invite via wild card in the history of this event — 39th worldwide in FIBA’s latest rankings — but the way Team USA lasered right in and immediately embraced the challenge to defend with a greater ferocity than past Team USAs could only impress the bosses. “The ball pressure was great,” Thibodeau said. “Challenging shots, finishing our defense, guys being tied together … it was terrific.”
Point guard Petteri Koponen took the floor hoping for a showing that would convince the critics Finland deserved its FIBA wild card for something other than the raucous band of traveling fans it could bring to the World Cup or its ties to the big money of Rovio and their Angry Birds franchise. Koponen and his pals wound up running straight into a pack of Angry Yanks and their buzzsaw D. “Maybe they’re missing some great players, but for sure these players want to show how great they are, too,” Koponen told ESPN.com just before making the much longer walk to his team bus. “They want to show the whole world they are the next generation, and they’re going to be the next superstars.”
The U.S. held Finland without a basket in the second quarter, opening defense of its title with a 114-55 romp Saturday in the Basketball World Cup. Silencing the Finns in the second quarter on the scoreboard and in the stands, where their rabid fans filled an entire side of the arena, the Americans allowed just a pair of free throws in the period, outscoring their overmatched opponents 29-2 to open a 60-18 advantage.
Madrid will announce EuroBasket 2015 hosts on September 8. Croatia, France, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Poland, Israel and Turkey are on the list of possible host countries. The Board of FIBA Europe decided to relocate 2015 EuroBasket from Ukraine. The decision has been officially announced earlier. The situation in Ukraine has not changed drastically in the last months so the decision seemed inevitable.