The FIBA World Cup 2014 took an interesting turn prior to the opening tip-off as New Zealand faced their Team USA opponents and proceeded to perform their traditional war dance challenge “haka”. The haka is a type of ancient Māori war dance traditionally used on the battlefield, as well as when groups came together in peace. Haka are a fierce display of a tribe’s pride, strength and unity.
Unfortunately the haka couldn’t stop the U.S. team from imposing their will offensively while improving to a 3-0 record subsequently resulting in a winless 0-3 record for New Zealand – a team on the brink of failing to advance to The Round of 16 within the FIBA World Cup Tournament.
During the first quarter we saw a great effort from both teams with a closing score of 27-20, however Team USA turned on the jets and never looked back after opening the second quarter with a 12-0 run and closing with a 57-35 lead at the half. Kenneth Faried and Anthony Davis played exceptional basketball as usual, Faried finished the game with 15 points, 11 rebounds, and shooting better than 77 percent from the field, Davis added 21 points and nine rebounds.
“We had to come out more mature,” Faried said. “After a -point blowout win we had the night before, we kind of came in and ‘ok, this is going to be easy; we can beat any team.’ Turkey really smacked us; they smacked us in the first half. They woke us up and guys knew it’s not going to be easy, and we have to come out each and every game and play our hearts out and give it our all if we want to go get this gold.”
Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson broke out of their shooting slump, both players finished the game with 12 points and shot with much accuracy from the 3-point line. The Americans sail away with another impressive win, final score USA 98 New Zealand 71.
USA will face Dominican Republic on September 3rd.
USA vs. New Zealand – Game Highlights – Group C – 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup