by Devon Jeffreys, July 13, 2012
Team USA is off and running on their way to the 2012 Olympics.
Deron Williams had 10 assists and added six points in 23 minutes as the United States Senior Men's National Team rolled to a 113-59 win over the Dominican Republic on Thursday night in a warmup game at Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas.
After the game, No. 8 said that although he can score with the best of them, he has no problem playing facilitator for the talent around him:
"I'm a shooter, but we've got weapons all over the floor," said Williams. "My job is to run the two and give guys the ball and get guys the shot."
D-Will came off the bench for Team USA on Thursday night and wasted little time, getting his guys their shots. After entering with 5:44 remaining in the first, D-Will found himself in transition just seconds later and got his first dime of the night with a lob to LeBron James for a sick dunk.
The jam seemed to ignite the team, which, after a slow start that saw them score just seven points in the game's first four minutes, finished the quarter with 26 points. They added 24 more in the second and went into halftime ahead by 23, 50-27
Along the way, D-Will tallied six more assists on two treys from Andre Iguodala and four buckets — two triples and two mid-range jumpers — for Kevin Durant. Durant finished with a team-high 24 points on 9-of-11 from the field, but credited his teammates like Deron for putting him in position to succeed.
"I have to give a shout to my teammates," Durant said. "They did a great job of finding me. Everything felt like it was in rhythm. I was stepping into the shot. LeBron's a great passer, D-Will had 10 assists, he's a great passer. Everyone was passing the ball well tonight. We had 27 assists, so if we can do that as a team, we'll be fine."
After going scoreless in the first half, Deron started the second half for the point for Team USA and got on the board almost immediately off an inbounds play with help from LeBron James. Standing on the baseline, LeBron passed behind his back to a cutting D-Will, who completed the layup.
Moments later, D-Will took a drive from the point right down the lane for another layup. His quick four points were Team USA's first in the second half and they piled on 25 more by the end of the quarter to take a 79-41 lead into the fourth.
Deron added another bucket and three more assists in the fourth, playing close out minutes as Team USA cruised to a 54-point victory. No. 8 commented after the game that it will take some time to find his rhythm, but that's why USA Basketball plays so many exhibitions prior to the Olympics.
"Timing, things are going to be off at first, my rhythm wasn't good on shot," he said. "But those things will come as time goes on."
Team USA will be heading to Washington D.C. where they'll spend the weekend training and play another exhibition on Monday night against Brazil at the Verizon Center. But first, D-Will is headed to Brooklyn.
Deron will be introduced along with his new backcourt-mate Joe Johnson during a press conference on Friday at Noon inside Brooklyn's Borough Hall. A free celebration for fans outside borough hall will follow the press conference.
- U.S. routs Dominican in exhibition (Associated Press, July 12, 2012)
- USA Basketball Men's National Team Rolls To First Victory (USA Basketball, July 12, 2012)
- USA Basketball: U.S. Rolls In Opener (NBA.com, July 12, 2012)
- Additional Quotes >> USA 113, Dominican Republic 59 (USA Basketball, July 12, 2012)
- Box Score: Team USA vs. Team Dominican Republic (USA Basketball, July 12, 2012) USA cruises to win over Dominican Republic (CBS Sports, July 12, 2012)
- Durant's friendly international waters (ESPN.com, July 12, 2012)
- Team USA romps but loses Clippers star Griffin (NY Post, July 13, 2012)