12/12/2022
FIBA90
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Kyrie's Final performance for the ages lifted USA to the title


MIES (Switzerland) - The FIBA Basketball World Cup 2014 in Spain had close games, unforgettable plays and brilliant individual performances, including one from Kyrie Irving.

The USA star, taking a page out of Kevin Durant's book from four years before when KD spearheaded the Americans' romp to glory in Turkey, dazzled all tournament long but especially in the 129-92 Final rout of Serbia.

After making all six of his three-pointers and pouring in a game-high 26 points, Irving was named MVP of the FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain.

Spain proved an ideal country to host the 24-team tournament in the summer of 2014 with Group Phase games in Bilbao, Granada, Seville and Gran Canaria.

While many had expected a title showdown between a star-laden Spanish national team to meet the defending champions United States in the Final, France upset the hosts (7ft 1in) in the Quarter-Finals in Madrid, 65-52.

Among the most famous plays in that game was France center Rudy Gobert's swat of a shot by Spain great Pau Gasol.


The rejection made the 2.15m Gobert an instant hero back home in France and announced the arrival of one of international basketball's new stars.

Though France got a spellbinding 35-point effort from Nicolas Batum, one in which he made eight three-pointers, the team fell to Serbia in the Semi-Finals, 90-85.

Batum, however, then had another tremendous night, scoring 27 points, to lead France past Lithuania, 95-93, in the battle for third place.

The back-to-back heroic efforts by Batum helped him claim a place in the All-Star Five.

Serbia had a memorable run in the knockout stages, blowing out Greece in the Round of 16 game and then Brazil, 84-56, before knocking off France.

The Serbians played with tenacity and precision but didn't have nearly enough in the Final.

At the event, there were gallant displays by teams from Asia and Africa, efforts that made loud statements about the potential of the sport in those regions.

Senegal, for the first time in their history, advanced from the Group Phase after surprising Puerto Rico (82-75) and then Croatia (77-75).

Gorgui Dieng, the Africans' powerful 2.11m center, played in his first tournament with the national team and led Senegal with averages of 16 points and 10.7 rebounds per game.

The Philippines, cheered on wildly by their passionate fans in Seville while participating in the tournament for the first time since 1978, threw scares into Croatia, Greece and Argentina before defeating Senegal.

The Philippines, playing at the World Cup for the first time since 1978, beat Senegal

When it came to winning close games, Turkey excelled.

Finland were left stunned in their Group C game after the Kerem Gonlum-led Turks battled back from a double deficit and got a three-pointer at the death from Cenk Akyol to force overtime.

Turkey then prevailed, 77-73, a result it used as a launchpad for an impressive tournament.

Against Australia in the Round of 16, Turkey were on the ropes trailing 64-59, yet Emir Preldzic came to the rescue. He hit back-to-back three-pointers, the second one a game-winner.

There were spirited displays all around in a tournament that was played in Granada, Seville, Bilbao and on Gran Canaria.

Finland were cheered on by the best traveling support in the history of the World Cup

Perhaps nowhere was the mood more festive than at Group C Games when Finland played.

Their 10,000 traveling fans created a never-to-be-forgotten atmosphere at games, and also helped turned Bilbao into a week-long party.

On the sport's biggest stage, stars shone bright and rose to the occasion time and time again.

FIBA