FIBA World Cup 2014: USA vs Serbia Live Stream
Team USA, sans LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Paul George, among others, was rarely considered the runaway favorite given the youth and inexperience playing together that coach Mike Krzyzewski brought with him to Spain.
Serbia was a relative unknown in comparison to teams such as Brazil and Spain, a status the team seemed to live up to in group play with a 2-3 record before turning on the afterburners in the knockout stage.
Each team’s tale of growth on an international stage against the world’s best concludes Sunday in a battle of wills. Here is everything to know before tip off.
Who: United States vs. Serbia
When: Sunday, September 14
Where: Madrid, Spain
Time: 3 p.m. ET
After an iffy mark in group play, the Serbian side has made an unexpected run and also grown right before the eyes of the globe.
As NBA.com’s John Schuhmann notes, the team has even outperformed Team USA in critical areas during the knockout stages:
The main culprit for Serbia’s success is, of course, Milos Teodosic. Bogdan Bogdanovic can score in bunches from the wing, and Miroslav Raduljica is a talented big man in the paint on both ends of the court, but it all really falls on the shoulders of Teodosic Sunday.
The man is shooting 55.2 percent from the field, 48.9 percent from long range and averaging 14 points per game to lead the team. ESPN’s Marc Stein notes that he could very well be in the NBA, if he so desired:
Like most of the globe that participates, Teodosic has had his eye on a final against the United States for quite some time.
“Every player when he was a kid was dreaming to play in a world championship final, and especially against States,” Teodosic said, per The Associated Press, via ESPN.com.
His ability is something that should absolutely concern a Team USA roster that is a tad weak on the wings when it comes to defense, thanks to players such as Steph Curry and James Harden.
Should he feast against them and continue to make the proper decisions with the ball to prohibit Team USA from swelling its already impressive turnover numbers, this one may be a lot closer than most would have expected.
This one comes down to turnovers.
Team USA is young, fresh and athletic. Sloppy play from Teodosic and Co. will only further the disadvantages by allowing the opponent to score easy points on the opposite end of the court after giving the ball away.
The fact of the matter is, Teodosic’s hot hand isn’t going anywhere, and the bruising 7-footer known as Raduljica will cause Team USA plenty of problems.
But again, this is a new-look team. The pick-and-roll defense is better than ever. The energy and focus have never been in question, and now the chemistry is along for the ride. Serbia has the right mixture to make Team USA sweat if it once again gets off to a slow start, but depth and consistency will once again rule in the United States’ favor.