A common misconception to many first time visitors to New York, but there is no garden at Madison Square Garden. More accurately, this “garden” is a direct reflection of New York City, an assembly of glass, steel, and concrete. No cultivation here of edible greeneries or beautify perennials. Instead, skill sets are tested and pride tempered in this temple of sport history.
With World Basketball Festival as the backdrop this past Saturday, the newly minted USA Men’s World Championship Team had the opportunity to experience international competition for the first time in a friendly scrimmage at MSG with China’s National Team. Broken to four 10-minute quarters, Team USA quickly went to work with 3-pointer by Kevin Durant. As Team China familiarized with the routine, Team USA didn’t relent till time ran out. USA led the first session 20-11. The second session was pretty much same, led again by Durant with an early start. The session ended with 27-15 win by USA. The game became more physical by the third session. Plenty of body check, jersey pulls, and challenges. Still, the initiative simply ran away for Team China. USA increased the pressure with even more aggressive stance and took the session 35-8. Not to end the scrimmage on negative note, China bounced back in the last session and quickly pulled ahead 9-7 with 6 minutes to go. A revved up offensive kept the momentum on side of Team China till the end with a win by 1 point, 17-16.
Team USA performed cohesively as one in its debut, with a final score of 98-51 against China. Assistances from point guards Derrick Rose and Rajon Rondo during crucial points helped Danny Granger scored a total of 22 points, the high of the game, despite a finger injury. Eric Gordon followed him with 15 and 14 points from Kevin Durant. The next appearance for Team USA will be the USA World Championship Team vs. Lithuania match up in Madrid, Spain on August 21st, part of the route to FIBA World Cup in Istanbul, Turkey on August 28th.