25 August, 2023
10 September
United states of America
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The Best of 2010 World Cup: USA grab first title since 1994, Turkey and Lithuania debut on podium

MIES (Switzerland) - USA ended a 16-year drought and won the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2010 for their first crown since 1994. Kevin Durant was unstoppable and won the MVP trophy while hosts Turkey took second and Lithuania finished in third place.

Reigning champs Spain were eliminated in the Quarter-Finals and USA collected their fourth world title. Turkey reached the podium for the first time as did Lithuania.

The best team: USA

Rank Team W-L
1. USA 9-0
2. Turkey 8-1
3. Lithuania 8-1
4. Serbia 6-3
5. Argentina 7-2
6. Spain 5-4
7. Russia 6-3
8. Slovenia 5-4
9. Brazil 3-3
10. Australia 3-3
11. Greece 3-3
12. New Zealand 3-3
13. France 3-3
14. Croatia 2-4
15. Angola 2-4
16. China 1-5
17. Germany 2-3
18. Puerto Rico 1-4
19. Iran 1-4
20. Lebanon 1-4
21. Cote d'Ivoire 1-4
22. Canada 0-5
23. Jordan 0-5
24. Tunisia 0-5

After World Cups in the United States of America and Japan, the flagship event returned to Europe as Turkey hosted the 15th edition - the fourth time the continent welcomed the world. The competition was held from August 28 to September 12 in four different cities across the country: Ankara, Izmir, Kayseri and Istanbul, with the latter hosting the group phase and the knockout stage, which was played at the Sinan Erdem Dome.

For the second straight World Cup, 24 countries participated in Turkey 2010: hosts Turkey; Olympics champion USA, the top six teams from Europe - Spain, Serbia, Greece, Slovenia, France, and Croatia; four nations from Americas - Brazil, Puerto Rico, Argentina, and Canada; the three top teams from Asia - Iran, China, and debutants Jordan; three African countries - Angola, Cote d'Ivoire, and Tunisia; the top two sides from Oceania - New Zealand, and Australia. Russia, Germany, Lithuania, and Lebanon completed the line-up.

The teams were divided into four groups of six with round-robin action. The top four finishers of the four groups all advanced to the knockout stage, starting with the Round of 16.

USA, Turkey, and Lithuania all went undefeated through the group stage, though all three faced stern tests along the way. In Group A, USA barely fended off Brazil 70-68, which was the same final score for Lithuania who came back from 10 points down at halftime before beating Canada in Group D. Lithuania also trailed by 18 points in the third quarter against Spain but rallied to win 76-73. Turkey also needed a comeback in Group C as they were down by seven points to Puerto Rico at the break but prevailed 79-77.

Group A was full of thrills right from the first day of action. Germany gave Argentina a fight before the South Americans won 78-74 and first-timers Jordan were leading against Australia, who eventually survived 76-75. On Day 2, Germany outlasted Serbia 82-81 in double overtime and Argentina needed another comeback to beat Australia 74-72. Germany went to overtime again but ended up losing 92-88 to Angola - a victory that would end up allowing the Africans to reach the knockout stage and send the Germans home. The final day of action in the group saw Serbia down Argentina 84-82 for first place.

Joining Serbia and Argentina from Group A in the Round of 16 were Australia and Angola. Slovenia, Brazil, and Croatia finished among the top four in Group B behind USA; and Spain, New Zealand, and France all finished 3-2 behind Lithuania in Group D. In Group C, Russia and Greece were second and third after Turkey and China ended up prevailing in a three-way tie of teams with 1-4 marks over Puerto Rico and Cote d'Ivoire. The Africans beat Puerto Rico in the final game 88-79 - a margin that gave China the point differential. Puerto Rico could have afforded a 6-point loss and advanced.

All of the higher seeds prevailed in the Round of 16 with really just two nailbiters. Aleksander Rasic hit a free throw in the final second to give Serbia a 73-72 win over Croatia while Luis Scola poured in 37 points in Argentina's 93-89 win over Brazil. 

Milos Teodosic after dethroning Spain

The Quarter-Finals started with a thriller as Milos Teodosic drained a long three-point at the final buzzer to give Serbia a 92-89 win over Spain to end the title defense of the Spanish. After hosts Turkey thrashed Slovenia by 28 points, Russia gave USA a fight but Kevin Durant dropped 33 points in an 89-79 win. And Lithuania eased past Argentina 104-85.

USA didn't waste much time against Lithuania in the Semi-Finals, leading 42-27 at halftime en route to an 89-74 win with Durant scoring a tournament-high 38 points. Turkey were carried by their home fans to a thrilling 83-82 victory over Serbia in the other Semi-Finals to reach the Final.


Serbia could not bounce back and Lithuania got 33 points from Linas Kleiza in a 99-88 win for third place and their first World Cup podium finish. In the Final, USA led 42-32 at halftime and never looked back with Durant scoring 28 points in an 81-64 victory for the Americans' first title since 1994.

The best player:  Kevin Durant, MVP

Kevin Durant showed the world why he was emerging as an NBA superstar as he took home the MVP trophy in leading USA to the title. He ranked third in scoring with 22.8 points per game while shooting 46 percent from three-point range and also averaging 6.1 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.4 steals per game.

Durant, who had after the season been named to the All-NBA First Team for the first time and became the youngest NBA scoring champion, started his first FIBA event modestly. He picked up 14 points and 8 rebounds against Croatia to start the tournament. He followed that with 22 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals versus Slovenia.

The 21-year-old Durant collected 27 points and 10 rebounds in a win over Brazil and then had 12 and 14 points in USA's final two group victories over Iran and Tunisia. And he tallied 17 points and 5 rebounds in beating Angola in the Round of 16.

Durant picked up his play starting in the Quarter-Finals. He poured in 33 points as USA beat Russia to reach the Semi-Finals, where he drained 5 three-pointers in scoring a tournament high 38 points to go with 9 rebounds in an 89-74 win over Lithuania. In the Final against hosts Turkey, Durant buried 7 three-pointers and finished with 28 points and 5 rebounds.


Durant, who set a USA World Cup scoring record with 205 points in nine games, was joined on the All-Tournament Team by Milos Teodosic of Serbia, Hidayet Turkoglu from Turkey, Lithuanian Linas Kleiza and Luis Scola of Argentina.

The best game: Serbia v Turkey, Semi-Finals

Serbia were hoping to grab a spot in the Final - their first under the Serbia flag - while Turkey had already gotten one step further than the Quarter-Finals in 2006 and were dreaming of a Final versus USA at home.

Novica Velickovic drained two three-pointers as Serbia surged ahead 15-8 to start the game. Turkey hit the next seven points to even the game but trailed 20-17 after 10 minutes. The Serbian advantage was 26-25 before Dusko Savanovic scored seven points in a row to extend the lead to 33-25. Turkey managed to get the deficit to three points but went into the locker room down 42-35.


Turkey knocked down two triples and the score was deadlocked 46-46 in the early stages of the second half. Milos Teodosic and Marko Keselj answered from deep in an 8-0 run to lead 54-46.  Turkey reeled off seven straight points to make it a one-point game but were down 63-60 after 30 minutes.

Keselj and Teodosic again hit three-pointers and Serbia were ahead by eight points again 72-64 with under 6 minutes to play. Turkey responded with a 14-3 run including two three-pointers among eight points from Kerem Tunceri to finally pull ahead 78-75. Two free throws each by Savanovic, Nenad Krstic and Keselj put Serbia back up 80-79 with 28 seconds to play.

Kerem Tunceri

The drama was just beginning though as Semih Erden threw down a dunk with 17 seconds to go only to miss the bonus free throw. Serbia regained the lead with 4.3 seconds remaining on an inside layup by Velickovic. Tunceri came up with more heroics, turning the corner and driving in for a layup with 0.5 seconds on the clock for another lead change. After a timeout, Velickovic got a shot off but Erden blocked it to secure the win.

Hidayet Turkoglu paced Turkey with 16 points, Omer Onan had 14 points and both Tunceri and Ender Arslan picked up 12 points. Keselj led Serbia with 18 points, Savanovic and Krstic both had 15 points and Teodosic collected 13 points, 6 rebounds and 11 assists in the loss.

The biggest story: Lithuania finally break through to podium

Lithuania came into the 2010 World Cup anything but an unknown, but the country had suffered through a bit of a podium drought. They collected Olympic bronze medals in 1992, 1996 and 2000 and won the FIBA EuroBasket 2003. But their only podium finish since then was third place at EuroBasket 2007.

The Lithuanians were in a transition after the national team departures of Sarunas Jasikevicius, Ramunas Siskauskas, Rimantas Kaukėnas, Ksystof Lavrinovic and Darjus Lavrinovic, who all played at the 2008 Olympics and finished fourth. And Kestutis Kemzura had taken over as head coach from Ramunas Butautas after Lithuania crashed to 11th place at 2009 EuroBasket - the country's second-worst ever showing. 

The 25-year-old Linas Kleiza was given the leadership role of the team with 2008 Olympic holdovers Simas Jasaitis, Robertas Javtokas and Jonas Maciulis still on board. Kemzura also brought back Paulius Jankunas, who had not played for the country since the 2007 EuroBasket, and he gave five players their major event debuts with Lithuania - Martynas Pocius, Renaldas Seibutis, Martynas Gecevicius, Tadas Klimavicius and Martynas Andriuskevicius.

The new-look Lithuanians started the campaign with a 92-79 win over New Zealand but then needed to come back from 10 points down at halftime to knock off Canada 70-68 in the second game, the North Americans missing chances to tie the game or pull ahead in the final minute. Lithuania pulled off more comeback magic in their third game, rallying from 18 points down to beat defending champions Spain 76-73.

Things got more comfortable for Kemzura's men after that with a 69-55 win over France and beating Lebanon 84-66 to finish off group play undefeated at 5-0. Lithuania started the knockout stage strong with a 78-67 win over China thanks to 30 points from Kleiza. Seven players then scored in double figures in a 104-85 thrashing of Argentina to reach the Semi-Finals for the first time.


Lithuania, who had been eliminated by Russia and Spain in the 1998 and 2006 Quarter-Finals, respectively, ran into the USA buzzsaw in the Semi-Finals. Kevin Durant was unstoppable with 38 points and USA led 23-12 after 10 minutes en route to an 89-74 loss. Lithuania bounced back in fine fashion against Serbia in the third place game and Kleiza led the way with 33 points in a 99-88 victory to finally reach the World Cup podium.  

The best performance: Luis Scola

The top scorer of the 2010 World Cup was Luis Scola, who averaged 27.1 points and also had 7.9 rebounds and 1.2 assists while shooting 57 percent from the field. Scola's efforts resulted him in getting a spot on the All-Tournament Team but Argentina only finished fifth.

Scola came out of the gates with 20 points in a tight win over Germany and then torched Australia for 31 points and 9 rebounds. He didn't slow down against Angola and poured in 32 points with 8 rebounds and then had 30 points and 13 rebounds in beating Jordan.

The 30-year-old center did all he could in the final group game against Serbia but his 32 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks were not enough in an 84-82 loss. Scola started the Knockout Phase in style with a 37 points and 9 rebounds against Brazil in the Round of 16.


Scola had his only poor game in the Quarter-Finals against Lithuania as he scored only 13 points on 5-of-16 shots with 4 turnovers in a 104-85 loss. Argentina bounced back in the Classification 5-8, beating Russia thanks to 27 points from Scola, who then had 22 points and 11 rebounds to lock up fifth place. 

Stats leaders

Player (country) Points Per Game
Luis Scola (Argentina) 27.1
Kirk Penney (New Zealand) 24.7
Kevin Durant (USA) 22.8
Carlos Delfino (Argentina) 20.6
Yi Jianlian (China) 20.2
Player (country) Rebounds Per Game
Yi Jianlian (China) 10.2
Hamed Ehaddadi (Iran) 8.6
Zaid Abbas (Jordan) 8.4
Luis Scola (Argentina) 7.9
Lamar Odom (USA) 7.7
Player (country) Assists Per Game
Pablo Prigioni (Argentina) 6.4
Marcelinho Huertas (Brazil) 5.8
Milos Teodosic (Serbia) 5.6
Osama Daghles (Jordan) 5.6
JJ Barea (Puerto Rico) 5.4