Mason Plumlee spoke to reporters in the mixed zone after tonight’s 114-54 win for USA over Finland. One journalist asked him about the criticisms that he was on the roster because of his links to Duke and Nike. Plumlee was polite but far from delighted with the question and he gave his thoughts on the matter in the video above.
It was the World Cup newcomers vs the World and Olympic champions. Team USA entered a cauldron in Bilbao and wrecked all before them. Emmet Ryan reports on a dominant display by the tournament favourites but one that shows they is still room for improvement.
This arena was just nuts. A full 40 minutes before tip off there were more fans here than at either game in the early session. When the Finnish team came out for warm-ups 10 minutes later the place went nuts and that was with half of the 8,000 Susijengi faithful yet to make it through the doors. Even the highlights video got a hot reaction, distracting somewhat from the entrance of the USA who hit the floor as it started.
Unfortunately the game was an absolute rout almost from the off as the United States took only a few minutes to settle in before ripping the Finns apart. Gerald Lee made history by scoring Finland’s first ever World Cup points and the arena erupted. Lee however picked up two offensive fouls early. Kenneth Faried made his presence felt inside with a pair of buckets as the US looked to establish their interior superiority. Enthusiastic as the Finns and their supporters were, there’s only so much that can be done when faced with this sort of gulf. The early assault on the interior saw the USA move into an early 9 point lead. Rudy Gay and Klay Thompson were keeping the Finns at arms length while Derrick Rose was happy to run into contact. There were explosive moves but the USA still felt like a team warming up near the end of the first frame. Any sense of a contest was well and truly put to bed after the opening 10 minutes. The USA led 31-16 at the end of the first. Not that any of this bothered the crowd. They knew this was going to be the rough night and treated every score like a cause for celebration. Erik Murphy’s lay-up at the end of Q1 was treated like it had put the Finns in front.
We promised you first person videos with the Epson Moverio Smart Glasses at the FIBA World Cup and here you go. First up it’s Susijengi taking over Bilbao earlier today ahead of their first every match at the FIBA World Cup against the USA. We’ll take another when the fans fill the arena later tonight.
New Zealand’s Casey Frank gives his thoughts after New Zealand let a big lead go to lose 76-73 to Turkey in Group C of the 2014 FIBA World Cup of Basketball. Frank talks about how the challenge of the Dominican Republic will differ to Turkey and his take on Turkey’s reaction to the Haka.
Oguz Savas was the hero as he led a late rally for Turkey to top New Zealand in Bilbao. In a game Turkey nearly threw away more than once, the Fenerbahce big man took over when it mattered to bring his side back from 12 points down and claim a win on the opening day of the FIBA World Cup. Emmet Ryan reports from the Bizkaia Arena.
After the novelty of the Haka was over and done with, New Zealand and Turkey got to work in a game that was high on pace but low on scores early. To be entirely honest, that was fine as these were two squads happy to bang into each other at will so every rebound brought the opportunity for contact. New Zealand moved into an early lead, with Tai Webster staying clear of the physical stuff to drain a couple of jumpers. Isaac Fotu, who has simply fantastic hair, tried to be clever by faking the outside pass and switching to the one-handed pass inside but in this quarter only straight-up play was delivering. New Zealand however were doing plenty of things right and Ergin Ataman was forced to call a second timeout of the quarter as the Tall Blacks led by 9 late in the first. They were good for that lead through the end of the frame.
Pooh Jeter was being hurried back to the dressing room after Ukraine’s 72-62 win over Dominican Republic but he stopped just long enough in the mixed zone to give some interesting thoughts. He did come back, the audio of his return is in our report from earlier.
It was an ugly shooting display from Ukraine in the first half the opening game of Group C at the 2014 FIBA World Cup of Basketball but their D stood strong before the calvary arrived as they defeated Dominican Republic in Bilbao. Emmet Ryan reports from the scene.
This wasn’t a pretty game of basketball that was essentially saved from being a slugfest by three minutes or so of utter dominance by Ukraine early the second half.
Oleksander Lypovy took the honours of scoring Ukraine’s first ever points in a World Cup match with an early three, Pooh Jeter quickly followed up with another and he signalled his intent with a turn to the small but vocal group of Ukrainian supporters. The nerves on both sides was obvious. Sloppy passes, lax steps out of bounds, and needles fouls. Jeter however was calm as they come, driving through the lane midway through the frame for a powerful lay-up. Victor Liz responded in similar fashion, taking a bump but making a bucket. Turnovers were frequent, most of them unforced, and Ukraine suffered the worst of it. Juan Coronado gave the Dominican Republic their first lead of the game off a quick steal but no-one was going to open this game up in the opening 10 minutes. Orlando Sanchez ensured they kept that lead going into Q2 with a jumper on the buzzer to make it 13-12 to Dominican Republic at the end of the first.
It’s just under an hour until everything tips off and the atmosphere in Bizkaia Arena is subdued. Ukraine coach Mike Fratello, whose charges are up first, passed me on my way in here and he looked focused but calm ahead of the game with Dominican Republic. Speaking with Ukrainian journalists last night, the mood was confident but with a clear awareness that the first two days here are huge. If they can start 2-0, Ukraine can start planning for Barcelona.
To do that they will also have to beat Finland on Sunday and the sheer number of Finnish fans here has to be a factor. There are 6th man Susijengi shirts dotted around the arena already with plenty of Finns knocking about outside despite their team not playing until the final game of the day.
Bilbao alone has 300 media accredited and all eyes will be on the USA in the late game. They are 37.5 point favourites tonight against Finland but don’t be surprised if they take the foot off the gas if they build a big lead.
Finally, for now, the mood regarding the host nation is far from cocky. The Spanish press here expect their side to make the final but see it as far from a fait accompli. They consider the Group A & B side of the draw to be deeper and are wary of being taken out in the quarter or semi finals.