The United States of America beat Turkey 81-64 to win the 2010 FIBA World Championship.
The result ended a 16-year wait for the USA, who had not won this tournament since 1994.
In the first official game ever between the two teams, Mike Kryzewski’s team gradually pulled away as Turkey looked to be suffering the after effects of their hard-fought win over Lithuania in Saturday’s semi-final.
Down 17-14, the Americans reeled off 11 unanswered points in a stretch spanning the late part of the first quarter and early second for a 25-17 advantage and they stayed in front the rest of the way.
Kevin Durant (who visited with FIBATV.com after the victory) gave his team their first double-digit lead, 31-21, midway through the second period. The Turks fought bravely but never got close enough to prove a real threat.
The teams went back and forth and Durant knocked down his second three-pointer of the night to put the USA up 12-7.
Hedo Turkoglu answered by hitting consecutive long bombs that edged Turkey in front 15-14 with 4:07 left in the first quarter.
However, he then picked up a knock and had to leave the game, going to the locker room before returning minutes later with a thick sleeve on the knee.
Omer Asik’s lay-up stretched the Turks’ lead to 17-14 with 3:28 remaining in the period, but the Americans then accounted for the last eight points of the period to lead 22-17.
Durant tied it at 17 all with a deep three-pointer, Stephen Curry, fresh off the bench, also connected from downtown and Russell Westbrook made a pair of free-throws in the dying seconds.
Turkey’s offense stalled and they were forced into two shot clock violations by their opponents’stifling defense.
Westbrook converted a three-point play early in the second quarter to cap the 11-0 spurt.
Ersan Ilyasova and Rudy Gay traded baskets before the USA yet again used some tough defense to force Turkey into another shot clock violation.
Turkoglu re-entered the game with 7:46 left in the half and Kerem Tunceri made a pair of free-throws that cut the deficit to 27-21.
Durant then hit his sixth and seventh three-pointers – the latter one tying Puerto Rico’s Larry Ayuso for most in a game at the FIBA World Championship – consecutively for a 48-32 advantage just two minutes into the third quarter to account for more than half of his team’s points (26 of 48).
Semih Erden scored inside on two occasions, only for Durant and Billups to cancel those points out for 38-28.
Oğuz Savaş made three of four free-throws before Gay scored with a minute remaining before the break.
Ilyasova split a pair from the charity stripe and Westbrook made good on both his tries in the dying seconds for a 42-32 halftime lead.
Turkey had their fourth shot clock violation right after the break.
Durant then hit his sixth and seventh three-pointers consecutively for a 48-32 advantage just two minutes into the third quarter to account for more than half of his team’s points (26 of 48).
Turkoglu could only watch from the bench as his knee injury forced him back on the sidelines.
Ender Arslan drained a three-pointer for Turkey’s first points of the period with 6:36 to go.
Andre Iguodala then skied high for an offensive rebound and fed Odom for an easy two.
Omer Onan hit three of four throws and Arslan knocked another long bomb for six straight points that got the home side within 52-41.
Gay’s jumper ended the run, Westbrook then buried a rare three-pointer, Durant knocked a turnaround jumper and Lamar Odom got an easy dunk as the American pushed the advantage to 61-48 heading into the final frame.
Derrick Rose showed off his speed to score four quick points in the open court at the start of the fourth and Odom later scored inside for the USA’s first 20-point lead, 70-50.
He later had a tip-in off as Rose missed a free-throw for a three-point play.
Tunceri knocked down a three-pointer and fed Gonlum underneath for an easy two that got Turkey within 74-57 but at the other end he failed to close in on Odom who made him pay with a jumper for his eighth and ninth points of the period.
Westbrook and Turkoglu traded three-pointers for 79-62 and the former then threw an alley-oop to Iguodala to add some stylish finishing touches.
Durant finished with a game-high 28 points.
Mike Kryzewski (USA head coach): “I want to congratulate the Turkish team for a truly perfect tournament. They epitomised what a team should be and we had to be at our very best to beat them. It was a terrific tournament and a truly wonderful city. I’ve never seen a country celebrate a team better than Turkey. It created a great atmosphere for the tournament.”
(Olympic Champion or World Champion? Which one means most?): “This championship meant a lot because we have a very young team. It meant a lot to all of us. This was very special. We hadn’t won the World Championship since 1994 and we, as a country, are trying to show great respect for the World Championships which I’m not sure we did a decade ago. I mean it’s twice as big in terms of the number of teams participating than the Olympics. But the Olympics meant a lot too.”
(On USA Basketball rebuilding in recent years): “I’m not sure we have dominance if you look at the game against Brazil. And we didn’t dominate tonight. We played a bit better than Turkey. What Jerry Colangelo has done is build a culture where we respect the international game and develop a team that can play in those events. I love the international game. There are so many great coaches and teams and it has made me a better coach. Our goal is to win a gold medal but also to win the respect of others in the way that we play and carry ourselves.”
(On Kevin Durant): “He elevated. He was on a pretty high floor already but he went close to being in the penthouse. The beauty about Kevin is he’s pure. He’s not trying to do anything except play basketball and get better. I love coaching him and he learned how to be a really great international player in the last five weeks which will help him be an even better NBA player. He’s very genuine. He’s a special guy and definitely a special player.”
Kevin Durant (USA forward): “I’ve had a great time in Istanbul, beautiful city. Playing for coach Kryzewski was a great experience and I had a great time with my team-mates. I look forward to 2014.”
(On whether he realised how his play will impact his fame and stardom): “I just wanted to come out here and win. That was my mindset from day one. None of that stuff, global marketing entered my mind. I just wanted to win for everybody. This is a great feeling and it’s all I worried about.”
“I was put in a great position to come out here and start. My teammates always made sure I came to work every day and they pushed me.”
(on wanting to shake off the tag of being a ‘B’ team with all players from the ‘Redeem Team’ out): “That was motivation for us all. We worked that much harder to prove people wrong.”
“Everybody, coaches, guys behind the scenes and everyone pushed us to make sure that we played as one group. Words can’t describe my feelings now. Sixteen years without winning this tournament. I have been four years in this programme and I feel like a veteran now. There is only one (current) American NBA player that has won this tournament in the NBA (Shaquille O’Neal) so that’s pretty special.
Chauncey Billups (USA guard): “This was a big win for us. We wanted to come here and prove we were the best players in the world, the best team in the world, and we did that. It’s very important. We hadn’t done this in 16 years. Now we have qualified for two years time (2012 London Olympic Games), we can go there and try to get another gold.”
Lamar Odom (USA forward/centre): “We tried to play our style, our game which is aggressive and we did it right away. We kept it during the whole game, played hard and got the crowd out of the game. To win this tournament we needed to be the best defensive team and I think that we achieved that.”
Bogdan Tanjevic (Turkey head coach): “Congratulations to my team, to the fans and the city of Istanbul. It was a fantastic atmosphere. The USA were fantastic. We had a lot of nerves last night (against Serbia) and it was a tiring game. The Americans had three hours more rest than us for today’s game but they played spectacular. I am so proud of my team.”
Hedo Turkoglu (Turkey forward): Congratulations to the USA. Nobody expected us to get this far in the tournament so as team captain I’m really proud of my teammates. I have to give credit to coach Tanjevic for what he has done.
(On what he told his teammates before the fourth quarter): “Tonight everybody was kind of nervous and wasn’t playing their game. I told the guys to relax and play the way we do. Even last night against Serbia there were nerves. I was telling them to enjoy the moment because it might not happen again. I’m happy with how we played overall in the tournament.”
(On what he thought made this a successful tournament for his team): “I think we had great chemistry between the players, the coaching staff. We were like a big family. We were together for two months and we made sure to enjoy our time together. Nobody cared who shot the ball the most. We acted like a team, thought like a team and it will make us a great team.”