Kenneth Faried and Team USA proved to be gold-blooded at the 2014 FIBA World Cup.
Methodically overpowering opponents each step of the way, the U.S. National Team wrapped up its perfect gold-medal run in Spain with a 129-92 victory over Serbia on Sunday.
Faried, two weeks away from reporting to training camp with the Denver Nuggets, scored 12 points and added seven rebounds while making a strong case for tournament MVP. The award went to Kyrie Irving, who went 6-for-6 from 3-point range and finished with 26 points in the championship game. Faried was selected to the FIBA World Cup All-Tournament Team, along with Irving, France’s Nicolas Batum, Spain’s Pau Gasol and Serbia’s Milos Teodosic.
Faried averaged 12.4 points and 7.8 rebounds while shooting a tournament-best .637 (51-for-80) from the field. He joined Carmelo Anthony (2008 Olympics), Chauncey Billups (2010 World Championships), Andre Iguoldala (2012 Olympics) and Antonio McDyess (2000 Olympics) as players to win a gold medal while under contract with the Nuggets roster.
The United States won its second consecutive World Cup title and fourth straight gold medal in senior international competition.
Sunday’s game was suspenseful for about eight minutes. Serbia jumped out to a 15-7 lead before the United States went on a 15-0 run as part of a 28-6 stretch to close the first quarter.
The Americans led by 26 points at the half and Serbia never got closer than 24 the rest of the way.
“You always save your best for last, right?” Faried said. “That's what everybody says. It's a saying, we save the best for last, and that's what we did tonight. We saved the best for last to go home with this gold medal right here.”
By winning gold, the United States secured an automatic bid to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.