Aug 1, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; USA Team Blue forward Kenneth Faried (33) dunks the ball during the USA Basketball Showcase at Thomas & Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Team USA VS Dominican Republic: Preview

Team USA responded from a less-than-inspiring showing against Turkey by throttling New Zealand yesterday.  As a result, the red, white and blue have already qualified for the knockout round, but still have to slog through two more games in pool play before things get interesting.

Even so, expect coach Mike Krzyzewski’s squad to treat today’s game against the Dominican Republic as if it meant something.  Developing chemistry is important for a team that appears to be headed for a gold-medal showdown with Spain, so at least for the first half, I imagine we’ll see the same rotations that Krzyzewski has been rolling out so far.  Most of the third and fourth period should be garage time, so Mason Plumlee and Andre Drummond fans, rejoice!

Team USA has been led by Anthony Davis, who is playing like a future NBA MVP, and Kenneth Faried – take that, doubters!  Seriously: the Manimal is ripping and tearing Team USA’s opponents to shreds.  His ferociousness and hustle truly make him the USA’s X-factor, since no one will be spending hours trying to game-plan a way to stop him.  While opposing teams are focusing on Davis, James Harden, and Stephen Curry, Faried just clocks in and goes hard core.   He’s a great example of just how valuable  hard work, hustle, and grit can be.

Catch the action of ESPN2 at 3:30.  Of course, you can always tune into NBA TV tonight at 10 p.m. if you want to watch it on tape-delay – but what fun is that?  You’ll already know who won!

Like that will be a surprise.  My pick: team USA 98, DR 65.

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