July 16, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; United States forward Kevin Durant (5) dunks the ball against team Brazil in the second half at Verizon Center. Team USA won 80-69. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE

Team USA Basketball: United States Wins Gold Medal With 107-100 Win Against Spain

The Oklahoma City Thunder make up 25 percent of Team USA with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden earning roster spots.

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Team USA 2012: Kevin Durant Adjusts To Playing In Olympics

Kevin Durant's Team USA coaches and teammates want the young scorer to shoot the ball more. He's a scoring maching, with three scoring title to his cred and a 22-point performance that led the U.S. over France on Sunday. But if he had taken as many shots as the Americans wanted him to, there is no telling how many he would've put up.

Durant is making the adjustment playing with LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony and this level of superstars. He notes here that he knows all of these guys pretty well, but it's all about growing up and being in the NBA at this point.

Those older veterans have urged Durant to shoot the ball more (they also have more miles on them and would probably rather see Durant exert himself the most in these Olympics - it's his turn, right?).

Here's some quotes from Mike Krzyzewski:

"The main adjustment is to play with other alpha dogs. He was the guy for the '10 team, and everybody accepted him for that. Now he is with LeBron, Kobe, Carmelo, these guys push-just so that he doesn't hold back. The guys have been great with him, they want him to score. To me, it says a lot about our guys when they're telling him, ‘Shoot it.' You hear LeBron say, ‘Shoot it,' every time. Kobe, kicking him out to him, ‘Shoot it.' Carmelo also does it."

Read more on Team USA at this StoryStream and check out Welcome To Loud City for more on the Thunder.


Team USA Vs. Spain Final: Carmelo Anthony Finishes With 27 Points As USA Wins 100-78

If there were doubts that the Men's National Basketball team against Spain, they certainly laid those concerns to rest in Barcelona on Tuesday night. On the strength of 27 points by Carmelo Anthony, 23 in the first half, Team USA defeated Spain 100-78.

Kevin Durant only scored 13 points in the game, but his 10 points at the start of the third quarter is what helped break the game open in favor of Team USA. Russel Westbrook also had seven consecutive points at one point in the third quarter to assist Durant.

Serge Ibaka had 16 points along with 19 points by Pau Gasol. But the lack of Marc Gasol and Sergio Rodriguez was just too much to overcome for the Spanish team. Those two players could be back on the Spanish team if the two teams play again at the London Olympics, most likely in the Gold Medal game.

Read more Olympics coverage at the hub page here and check out SB Nation Kansas City.


2012 London Olympics: LeBron James Says Team USA Is Young, Hungry And Ready For Challenge Ahead

This is the third time around for LeBron James. It’s hard to believe that James is that experienced and aged, but he’s only 27. It’s just that he was so good at such a young age, and he appeared at the perfect time to hit the Olympics in 2004 as well as 2008. Now that he’s back again at 2012 in London, he’s the most experienced member of the team along with Carmelo Anthony.

That’s a good level of experience to have given the young nature of the rest of the team. Many lack experience in the NBA, let alone international competition, and it would have been even more so if Anthony Davis had made the roster. He still could as an alternate should another player become injured.

LeBron says the challenge is ahead for the team to come together, but that some time together can fix all of that.

"The first team in ’04, we were put together really fast. The pieces didn’t fit right and it showed in our play," James said. "In ’08, it was ‘The Redeem Team,’ and guys had committed to the Olympics for a long time. That’s why we were able to win that gold because we were all about that chemistry. It’s going to take some practices, it’s going to take some exhibition games, [but] we have a lot of guys in our prime and we have a lot of young guys and hungry guys who are always looking forward to a challenge."

Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden all made the team from the OKC Thunder, so it will also be a great time for those players to gel in a completely different environment.

For more on the Thunder check out Welcome To Loud City. For more news and notes from around the NBA head over to SB Nation's NBA page.


Team USA Basketball: Jerry Colangelo Unnecessarily Talks Trash About DeMarcus Cousins

It was a press conference designed to talk up the subject of Team USA men’s basketball. NBA stars circled around a room ready to take questions from reporters all over the globe. If anything, it’s a time to discuss the highlights of what is right with the NBA and focus on team unity, goals and national pride coming up to the 2012 London Olympics. Instead, Jerry Colangelo unfortunately did not get the memo.

Colangelo is the architect of Team USA basketball, the man in charge of putting in members for the Oklahoma City Thunder as 25 percent of the United States’ roster. He chose James Harden over Rudy Gay, Andre Iguodala over Eric Gordon. In the end, he was going to do some explaining about his choices and there was no way around that.

But there was a way out of his remarks about Sacramento Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins. That’s because he didn’t even have to talk about him in the first place.

While statistically, Cousins might have made sense, he was not included among the finalists for the roster. Instead of saying something polite when asked about Cousins (i.e. "We only comment on players who are here."), Colangelo used it as a chance to scold a player for no reason publicly.

"He needs to mature as a person (and) as a player if he’s going to have an outstanding NBA career," Colangelo said. "Before there’s discussion about him being part of our program, he has a lot of building to do. … He has a lot of growing up to do."

There’s just no reason for Colangelo to throw a kid under the bus to motivate him at this point. The decisions have been made. Cousins didn’t make the cut or even the alternates. That should be telling enough without having to dismiss him to reporters as the only player discussed not on the team or alternates.

Here’s hoping Cousins takes Colangelo’s words and turns them into something positive for motivation rather than feeling blindsided by inappropriate criticism (although it’s understandable if he feels the latter). Cousins and the Kings are heading to better places this year and beyond, especially after adding Thomas Robinson. He does not need Colangelo’s lack of etiquette to help him.


2012 London Olympics: Team USA Prep Work Refreshing For OKC Thunder's Durant, Westbrook And Harden

Ever since playing in the recent NBA Finals, the members of the Oklahoma City Thunder have been taking it easy. Thus prepping for Team USA wasn’t as simple as just getting up and going back out. Instead, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden all talked about the need to get back in game-ready condition with fresh legs as they are all trying out for the roster that will represent Team USA in the 2012 London Olympics.

“It feels good, especially for me to be able to run up and down a little bit,” Westbrook said. “It’s a great opportunity for us and it’s a blessing. I’m just trying to learn. These guys won an Olympic gold medal before in Athens so I’m just trying to learn and get better.”

“We tried to get our legs into it,” Harden added. “I think all the guys are trying to get their legs back and get into a groove and get on the same page. It’s fun.”

Westbrook and Durant are considered locks to make the team with James Harden on the bubble. However injuries are taking their toll on some eligible players like new Hornets center Anthony Davis. That may open up a slot for a promising player like Harden, even though that would make three players from the Thunder on one team.

“These are my guys,” Harden said. “I’m with them every single day and now being with them and with the other best players in the world, it’s definitely a dream come true. Hopefully I can make the team and enjoy that experience with them.”


London Olympics 2012: Team USA Has Saturday Deadline For Final 12 Roster Spots

The deadline for Team USA to choose their final roster for men’s basketball is Saturday, so basketball fans will find out soon enough whether or not their favorite players will make it. Mike Bresnahan believes that nine players are locks to make it while another six contend for the final three spots, as the team whittles down to their final 12.

James Harden is among the candidates vying for one of the three spots, and his case might be helped due to an injury to Anthony Davis. Here’s Bresnahan’s quick player takes for his six on the bubble:

Anthony Davis, Hornets: On the fence for London because of a sprained ankle.
Rudy Gay, Grizzlies: Still chasing a roster spot.
Eric Gordon, Hornets: Barely played because of knee injury but somehow still alive.
Blake Griffin, Clippers: Doesn’t really have international game but still alive.
James Harden, Thunder: NBA’s sixth man of the year still alive for roster spot.
Andre Iguodala, 76ers: Versatile swingman has a chance at roster spot.

Harden makes sense in terms of ability compared to the rest of the field, but there’s also very few big men on the roster at this point. He’s also the third member of the OKC Thunder who is under consideration, so one team having 25 percent of the roster might be a bit much no matter how talented Harden is.

For more on the Oklahoma City Thunder check out Welcome To Loud City. For more news and notes from around the NBA head over to SB Nation's NBA page.


2012 London Olympics: Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant Are 'Virtual Locks' To Make Team USA

While Team USA deals with injury concerns and a lack of big men, the team will still be very difficult for any other team to beat in the field in the upcoming 2012 London Olympics. That’s because the star power involved, even without Anthony Davis, is overwhelmingly in favor of the United States. That’s due in part to at least two, and perhaps three, players from the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are “virtual locks" according to Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman and that’s no surprise when looking at the field. Both players have been discussed as Team USA players for some time and it’s only James Harden who looks like a question mark. Although even that would likely not be an issue if Harden played for anyone else.

Mayberry writes, “Westbrook and Durant are virtual locks to make the final team. They should become the ninth different set of teammates to compete in the summer Olympics since the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) opened the competition to NBA players in 1989. New York’s tandem of Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler, as well as some mix of the Clippers’ trio, figures to increase that tally.”

Harden is a longshot at this point, but stranger things have happened than having three teammates on the USA roster.

For more on the Oklahoma City Thunder check out Welcome To Loud City. For more news and notes from around the NBA head over to SB Nation's NBA page.

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