The 2011 Pan-American Games have not begun pretty for Team USA as they've had to mount comebacks against both the Dominican Republic and Brazil after falling behind early. The American team made up of players signed to play in the NBA Development League will finish its opening round play against Uruguay on Friday night in Guadalajara. But before that happens, Blake Ahearn and company talked about Thursday's victory.
Ahearn scored 21 points off the bench and his play, along with fellow reserve Justin Dentmon and starter Jerome Dyson as part of a three-guard lineup, helped USA recover from what was a 17-point deficit at one point in the game. The United States went on a 50-22 over the game's last 14 minutes and 51 seconds to secure the victory.
"Yeah, when you get out there on the floor a little bit, it's a little bit easier to play. We knew coming in that at times it's going to be tough just with the amount of guys," Ahearn said of his performance. "I was able to get a couple of layups, knock some shots down, and coach stuck with me and we just took it from there. Like I said, it wasn't just me, there were a whole bunch of guys doing it and that's what makes it the most fun."
Head coach Nate Tibbetts also touched on Team USA playing with a bit of an attitude at the Pan-Am Games. ESPN analyst Doug Gottlieb brought up an interesting point when he pointed out during Thursday night's victory that Brazil was missing the majority of its best players. America's team is made up of the best D-League players that committed to play in the D-League a month early, though, not necessarily the very best the D-League can offer.
"The reason I like these guys is because they have a chip on their shoulder, they are trying to find their place in the basketball world like you said," Tibbetts said. "But these guys love to play and they love playing with the United States on their chest. This is maybe a once in a lifetime opportunity for our guys and they are taking advantage of it."
For additional quotes, check USA Basketball's quotes page. Here's a recap on the game, the box score is located here and there are a few highlights here.