Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried leads Team USA over Turkey

Denver big man finishes with 22 points, eight rebounds
by Aaron Lopez
Nuggets.com

Manimal tracks were all over this one.

With Team USA facing a tough test from Turkey on Sunday, Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried showed why his effort and energy translate from the NBA to the 2014 FIBA World Cup.

Faried scored on a putback that broke a 59-59 tie and sparked a decisive 17-1 run as the United States beat Turkey 98-77 in a game that was more competitive than the final score indicated.

Faried finished with 22 points on 11-for-14 shooting and added eight rebounds, three steals and two blocked shots. One of the steals ignited an 11-2 run that helped the Americans erase a five-point third-quarter deficit.


USA vs. Turkey Photo Gallery

"Kenneth changed the game with his intensity, his defensive effort, his hustle plays, block shots," teammate James Harden said. "He did everything. That kind of got us going a little bit."

Through two World Cup games, Faried is averaging 14 points and seven rebounds. He is 14-for-17 from the field.

"Every time I step on the basketball court, you never know it could be your last game, so I like to play my hardest in every game," Faried said. "When you love the game like that it tends to reward you back."

Coming off a 59-point win against Finland, Team USA (2-0) was tested from the start against Turkey, which used its patience to build a 40-35 lead at the half.

The U.S. turned up the defense in the second half, forcing several turnovers that led to easy baskets in transition. Turkey finished with 27 turnovers.

Team USA has Monday off before resuming Group C pool play Tuesday against New Zealand.