Team USA’s first pool-play game at the FIBA World Cup was a start-to-finish display of dominance, a 114-55 victory over Finland in Bilbao, Spain, Saturday.
Bulls point guard Derrick Rose fared well, playing assertively on offense and finishing with 12 points in a team-high of nearly 23 minutes of action, while fellow Chicago native Anthony Davis, the New Orleans Pelicans big man, continued to excel, scoring a team-high 17 points in just 14 minutes of action and sitting out the entire fourth quarter.
Rose, who again came off the bench behind Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving, started off with a flourish after entering the contest at the 5:28 mark of the opening period, scoring five first-quarter points, including an explosive and-one dunk off a crossover dribble.
It was a stellar defensive performance by Team USA, as it quickly became clear that Finland, whose team included former Bulls stretch power forward and 2013 second-round draft pick Erik Murphy, simply didn’t have the firepower to make it a competitive game, illustrated by a 29-2 second quarter in which the Americans didn’t allow a single field goal, leading to a 60-18 halftime advantage.
The Finnish squad fared better offensively in the second half, but Team USA was still able to push its lead up to a 50-point margin by the end of the third quarter, though Rose, who did experience issues with turnovers and finishing around the basket, continued to play down the stretch, helping to salt away the blowout in the final stanza.
Meanwhile, Rose’s new Bulls teammate Pau Gasol starred in expected tournament finalist Spain’s rout of Iran and also Saturday, Bulls second-round draft pick Cameron Bairstow played sparingly, going scoreless in Australia’s loss to Slovenia.