The Sacramento Kings veteran comes up big off the bench in USA's exhibition win.
Rudy Gay may have been a late addition to Team USA, but the Sacramento Kings small forward appears to have a solid place in head coach Mike Krzyzewski’s rotation. The 28-year-old veteran scored 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting off the bench in USA’s 112-86 victory over Puerto Rico at Madison Square Garden on Friday night.
Since rejoining the USA basketball program last week, Gay has had his number called early and often by Krzyzewski. Like the previous two contests against Brazil and the Dominican Republic, the Sacramento Kings wing was one of the first reserves to spell some of the starters.
Notes and Analysis
- DeMarcus Cousins did not have a great game for Team USA. The Sacramento Kings starting center struggled defensively, picking up four avoidable fouls during his 12 minutes of play. He finished with eight points on 4-of-7 shooting and just four rebounds in the win.
- If Cousins doesn’t make the roster, it will be a tough pill to swallow for the Sacramento Kings big man. However, getting hurt in practice was something that was totally out of his control and may have had lingering effects on his performance this week.
- Cousins didn’t play well, but neither did Mason Plumlee. The Brooklyn Nets center was the first big man off the bench Friday evening, but looked lost on defense at times. Plumlee played nine minutes, finishing with four points and five rebounds.
- After a stellar performance on Wednesday against the Dominican Republic, Andre Drummond did not play Friday night. With poor performances from both Cousins and Plumlee as well as Drummond’s DNP-CD, there’s no telling what Coach K and Jerry Colangelo will do when it comes to deciding USA’s bigs.
- Chandler Parsons and Gordon Hayward are Gay’s main competition for a spot on this year’s World Cup roster. However, the Sacramento Kings forward has leapfrogged both of them in the rotation. Parsons played less than 12 minutes Friday, scoring just three points on 1-of-3 shooting while Hayward earned a DNP-CD.
- It was splash season for the duo known as the “Splash Brothers”. Stephen Curry scored a team-high 20 points, making 4-of-5 shots from 3-point distance, and Klay Thompson finished with 12 points on 4-of-9 shooting from deep.
- After sitting out Wednesday’s win over the Dominican Republic, Derrick Rose returned to action, but didn’t start. Coach K instead went with Kyrie Irving in his first unit for a second-straight game. Rose totaled six points and four assists while Irving had 11 and six. Like Cousins, Rose faces questions about his health, leaving his status for the World Cup up in the air.
- In addition to Drummond and Hayward, DeMar DeRozan and Damian Lillard both earned DNP-CDs on Friday. DeRozan and Lillard probably have a shot to make the roster depending on how Krzyzewski and Colangelo feel about Rose’s health.
- In the first half of the contest, Puerto Rico gave USA a run for its money. Led by the Minnesota Timberwolves’ J.J. Barea and former NBA guard Carlos Arroyo, the Puerto Ricans proved to be a tough cover for USA, particularly from the perimeter. In the first half alone, USA allowed Puerto Rico to go 6-of-10 from 3-point distance.
- Team USA stabilized and found their footing on defense in the second half. They started off the third period on a 16-4 run.
Tweet of the Game
Mike Krzyzewski just announced at his press conference that preference is to take only 12 to Spain when Team USA leaves for Europe tomorrow
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) August 23, 2014