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ISTANBUL (World Championship) - Team USA passed another test with flying colors on Sunday at the FIBA World Championship in Turkey with a 99-77 triumph over Slovenia.
In front of a raucous, festive Abdi Ipekci crowd - the majority of them Slovenians - the Americans prevailed in Group B after getting excellent performances from several players.
The USA, who whipped Croatia in their opener on Saturday, got plenty of scoring again from Kevin Durant while the defense, rebounding and fastbreaks killed any chance of a Slovenia upset.
The Americans took the lead for good when they scored 10 underanswered points at the start of the game for a 12-2 advantage. Slovenia battled back and closed the gap to 27-21 after a three-ball from Samo Udrih and a dunk by Primoz Brezec, but the USA finished the half with a 15-7 run to go on top at 42-28. Durant had 15 points and a team-high six boards at the break.
The United States delivered the knockout in the first five minutes of the second half, outscoring the European team 14-4.
Slovenia also had no answers for the tenacious and relentless Kevin Love, who came off the bench to dominate on the boards, and visited with FIBATV.Com after the game.
At the end of the third quarter, Love had nine rebounds - four on the offensive glass - to go with his 10 points.
He ended up with a double-double (10 pts, 11 rbs) in just 13 minutes.
On one play, Love boxed out Slovenia's Uros Slokar and used just one hand to grab the rebound and score.
Former NBA man Bostjan Nachbar matched the Americans with a terrific first half and ended up with 13 points while fans also got a good look at the promising center Gasper Vidmar who finished with 10 points, most of them on thunderous dunks.
It's going to take an extraordinary effort to beat the Americans, who look every bit as good as the side that captured a gold medal at the 2008 Olympics.
Eric Gordon gave the Americans a boost from long range against Croatia but on Sunday it was Rudy Gay who drilled a trio of three-balls.
More important for coach Mike Krzyzewski was Gay's defense.
He was one of several USA players with at least one block and one steal.
USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski: "We are pleased to beat an outstanding Slovenia team. It was tough because they forced us to make turnovers. My team played so hard and as long as we get that effort, we are going to do well. It was a great crowd (mainly Slovenian fans) but all of us have played in much tougher environments than this one."
Slovenia head coach Mehmed Becirovic: "This is a great USA team. They are very athletic, very aggressive and get a lot of point off turnovers. I am not disappointed with the performance of my team. They tried their best."