Anthony Davis erupts in second half, USA overtakes Turkey

by Jim Eichenhofer

What a difference a half can make.

At intermission of Sunday’s FIBA World Cup game in Spain, USA Basketball trailed Turkey by five points. In a rarity, USA starter Anthony Davis had made zero impact, going scoreless.

Then the second half began. Only 11 seconds into the third quarter, Davis dropped in a running one-hander over New Orleans Pelicans teammate Omer Asik. Davis went on to score 19 points in the second half, spearheading the Americans to a deceptive 98-77 victory. The world’s No. 1 ranked team was down 40-35 at halftime, but held a 63-37 edge during Davis’ explosive second half.

Overall, the 21-year-old finished with 19 points, six rebounds, two blocks and two steals, with nearly all of that statistical output coming after the break. He played a total of 26 minutes. Davis went 8-for-11 from the field, repeatedly converting on baskets in the paint against Turkey (1-1). The Western Conference All-Star was on the back end of multiple alley oops, resulting in four dunks and two point-blank tip-ins. He also dropped in a couple crafty touch shots from the middle of the paint.

Facing his brand-new NBA teammate Asik, Davis was whistled for two fouls by the early portion of the second quarter, causing USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski to sit Davis for a stretch. The fouls may also have affected Davis’ aggressiveness, because he was barely part of the USA offensive attack in the opening half.

Meanwhile, Asik made his greatest impact in the first half for upset-minded Turkey, which held the upper hand on the scoreboard for much of the initial three quarters. It wasn’t until the Americans went on a 10-0 run to start the fourth period that they finally created some breathing room with a 76-60 lead.

Asik finished Sunday’s game with six points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots, but also had six turnovers. He logged 21 minutes of court time, with a big chunk of that coming early. Asik grabbed six of his rebounds in the first quarter, helping stake Turkey to a surprising opening-half advantage on the backboards.