Awful start costs NU bad loss to lowly Cal in opener

EVANSTON—Jared Goff threw for 281 yards and three touchdowns, Jalen Jefferson had a key interception, and California hung on to beat Northwestern 31-24 Saturday in the season-opener.The Golden Bears looked like they were on their way to an easy victory up 31-7 in the third quarter. Instead, they had to sweat this one out.Northwestern got two touchdowns in a 25-second span late in the third to pull within 10. Jack Mitchell added a 24-yard field goal with 5:18 left in the game to make it 31-24, and the Wildcats were threatening to score again when Jefferson came up big.With Northwestern on the California 27, he sacked Trevor Siemian for an 11-yard loss. On the next play, he picked off a tipped pass that was intended for Pierre Youngblood-Ary at the 15, and the Golden Bears came away with the win after dropping 16 straight to FBS opponents.The late rally aside, it was a rough afternoon for Northwestern.The Wildcats are trying to steer attention toward their play after being engulfed by the unionization debate with former quarterback Kain Colter leading the movement, and this was not what they had in mind.Coming off a 5-7 season, they couldn’t slow Cal’s up-tempo offense or get anything going when they had the ball.Goff, who threw for more than 3,500 yards as a freshman, was 21 of 34 with an interception.Trevor Davis caught a 76-yard touchdown. California racked up 414 yards to come away with the win after going 1-11 in coach Sonny Dykes’ first season.Northwestern’s Trevor Siemian, who shared the quarterback job with Colter the past two years, threw for 229 yards.Cameron Dickerson had a 54-yard touchdown reception, but the Wildcats came up short after making things interesting down the stretch. It started with that 25-second stretch late in the third, when Justin Jackson scored on a 7-yard run and Siemian hauled in a 17-yard pass off a flea-flicker from Jayme Taylor following an interception by Collin Ellis. That made it 31-21 with just over 2 minutes left in the third quarter. Until then, Northwestern got dominated.Cal asserted itself right from the start, going 79 yards for a touchdown on the game’s opening possession.Goff, who threw for 450 yards and two scores in last year’s loss to the Wildcats, hit Bryce Treggs on fourth down at the 1 to make it 7-0. And things just mounted from there.Northwestern was then threatening to score when Warren Long got stopped on fourth-and-1 at the Cal 22, and the Golden Bears responded with another touchdown.This time, Goff hit a leaping Kenny Lawler in the end zone for a 7-yarder that made it a 14-point game, and the Golden Bears continued to pour it on.Cal started its next possession early in the second quarter on the Northwestern 29 after a short punt out of the end zone by Chris Gradone off a bounced snap. That led to a 20-yard field goal by James Langford to bump the lead to 17-0.NU finally broke through when Siemian connected with Dickerson on a short slant for a 54-yard touchdown with 6:26 left in the half. But any thoughts of a rally got squashed on the next play from scrimmage, when Goff found an open Davis for a 76-yard touchdown, making it 24-7.

Irish open season with 48-17 rout of Rice as Golson sparkles in his return

SOUTH BEND—Everett Golson looked better after a year off than he ever did in helping Notre Dame get to the national championship two seasons ago.In his first game back after missing last season for academic impropriety, Golson threw touchdown passes of 75 and 53 yards and became just the third Notre Dame quarterback to run for three touchdowns in a game as the Irish beat Rice 48-17 on Saturday.

“Everett Golson was electric,” coach Brian Kelly said. ”He kept his eyes down field. He knew when to run. He knew when to throw it.”

Golson was 14-of-22 passing for 295 yards and ran for 41 yards on 12 carries. He threw the ball away on purpose three times and three other times Irish receivers dropped passes. His only big mistake was a pass early in the second quarter that Rice safety Gabe Baker should have intercepted but dropped.Golson said it was the type of comeback he envisioned while spending a semester away from Notre Dame.

”That’s what inspired me through all the training and all the days of me just working out by myself. I think that’s what helped me get through it,” he said.

Because of privacy laws, Notre Dame never disclosed why Golson was suspended from school. Golson said he used ”poor judgment on a test,” but never elaborated.Golson’s most exciting throw was a 75-yard touchdown pass to Will Fuller that traveled nearly 60 yards in the air. Fuller was in a full sprint and wide open and needed to slow down to catch the pass near the 25-yard line. Fuller then made Rice safety Julius White miss as he raced into the end zone. It was the longest TD pass for Notre Dame since 2010.The 53-yard touchdown pass was a little better timed as Golson scrambled and threw a perfect pass to a wide-open C.J. Prosise in the end zone with 5 seconds left in the half, giving the Irish 28-10 lead. Golson was hit hard just after throwing the pass.Rice coach David Bailiff said Golson is amazing in his ability to extend plays.

”We left our corner on an island for too long and he got separation. Because that’s what great quarterbacks do,” Bailiff said.

Golson scored on an 11-yard run on a planned keeper, a 14-yard scramble and a 4-yard run on a blown handoff.Kelly said Golson had shown a lot of confidence in recent days.

”There’s a lot of things that he will tell you that he’s got to continue to improve on, but there’s a confidence that he carries with him that is starting to emanate, and that’s going to only get better and better as he gains more confidence,” Kelly said.

Driphus Jackson, making his second career start at quarterback for Rice, was 13 of 24 passing for 163 yards and one touchdown and the key interception.

”I’ve just got to be better managing the ball, and understand it’s OK to throw the ball away,” Jackson said. ”I don’t have to try and make plays all the time.”

Rice backup quarterback Tyler Stehling threw a 53 yard TD pass to James Mayden later.Notre Dame was playing without five players on its roster, including three starters. The group is being investigated for possible cheating. But the Irish haven’t let it affect them, Kelly said.

”They care about their teammates. That’s clear. But they also know that they are here at Notre Dame to get a degree and to play for Notre Dame and represent Notre Dame on the football field. So they have been really focused on their job and going out there. They have been really purposeful every single day.”

USA routs Finland in World Cup debut

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A quick look at Team USA’s 114-55 win over Finland in the opening game of the FIBA World Cup for the United States.What happened: A lot of destruction. Finland didn’t play terribly in the first quarter. They were a little amped with a massive home crowd behind them, and airballed a few shots, but overall, they managed to keep it respectable, trailing only 15.Then things got bad. Very, very quickly. In the second quarter, Team USA went on a 29-2 run. Yes, you read that right. The two points for Finland came on free throws. They did not score a field goal for the entire quarter. That was all she wrote. Finland played a bit better in the third quarter but still trailed by 50 after three.Klay Thompson led all scorers with 18, while Anthony Davis added 17, and Derrick Rose 12. DeMarcus Cousins finished with 10 rebounds and was very active in extended minutes.Finland’s guards were actually fairly effective, but between the presence of Anthony Davis deterring them and the pressure applied by the USA guards, there just weren’t any options. It’s a testament to the team’s defense that it clamped down as effectively as it did. James Harden was active and aggressive (no, really) and Davis (more on him later) was just a monster presence inside. But DeMarcus Cousins was also a huge muscle inside when Davis sat.You saw a lot of good things from Team USA, but the athleticism gap was still the largest problem for Finland. There will be some problems against better shooters and perimeter creators but Team USA can also play better than they did, which is scary since they won by nearly 60.
Three stars:
1. Anthony Davis (17 points, four rebounds) was the biggest impact player in this game. He had no blocked shots, but his presence inside kept sending Finland’s guards scurrying back out of the paint. Meanwhile offensively, he couldn’t be stopped. He had the mid-range jumper going and was bursting through two defenders with ease to get to the rim. Davis doesn’t looked like the most polished player on Team USA. But he did look like the most impactful.
2. James Harden (15 points, three rebounds, three assists) set the tone. Harden played with focus and intensity, creating steals at midcourt and getting to the rim, driving hard to create contact, and playing great defense. For a guy so maligned for his poor defensive work, it was great to see Harden sprinting to get to the shooter as he closed out. He was the most put-together player for the team, and it showed why he’s been singled out as a leader by coach Mike Krzyzewski.
3. Derrick Rose looked spry. He attacked and made plays. His defense was a little shaky and at points he would land and it looked like he was limping a bit, but then he’d turn around and make more plays. How Rose recovers will determine a lot about where he’s at, physically.
NOTES—Team USA faces Omer Asik and Turkey on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. CT. Turkey beat New Zealand 76-74 Saturday.

Lunt, Illini rally past stubborn Youngstown State 28-17

CHAMPAIGN—It took a while but new quarterback Wes Lunt delivered a come-from-behind 28-17 win Saturday for Illinois over Youngstown State in a season opener.Lunt threw three late touchdowns for Illinois. The second was a 15-yarder to running back Josh Ferguson that put Illinois up for good 21-17.Lunt finished the day 24 of 38 for 285 yards and four touchdowns. He used nine different receivers.Lunt’s highly anticipated debut after his transfer from Oklahoma State started slowly. The Illini had seven first downs by halftime and clung to a 7-6 lead.The Penguins took a 17-14 lead with 10:57 left in the game on a 2-yard Brian Ruiz touchdown and a 2-point conversion by quarterback Dante Nania.Ruiz finished with 32 carries for 116 yards and one touchdown. Nania was 11 of 24 for 177 yards.The game was hardly what Illinois wanted from its opener and the only FCS team on its schedule.The Illini defensive line struggled to control the line of scrimmage. The inexperienced group of receivers Lunt will rely on was tightly covered for much of the game. Illinois fumbled the ball three times, losing one. And then there were the penalties, seven of them for 55 yards.And Lunt, who hadn’t played a football game for more than a season, was occasionally rusty.But Illinois’ late salvation came on Lunt’s arm and two of those touchdowns.The first one required the kind of luck that might not come along too often.Leading 9-7 with 4:44 left in the third quarter, Youngstown needed less than a yard for a first down at the 50-yard line. The Penguins lined up to punt but punter Joey Cejudo rolled right on what looked like a fake. Apparently seeing no opening, the senior punter tried a low, rugby punt that hit a teammate in the back. The ball bounced back toward the goal line, rolling out of bounds at the Youngstown 35.The Illini had the break they needed.Lunt came out throwing, driving Illinois to the 8. From there he spotted freshman receiver Mikey Dudek running wide open in the right rear of the end zone for an easy touchdown, a lead and, finally, some relief.Illinois was up 14-9 with 13:58 to play, but only briefly.The Penguins struck back with a 61-yard pass from Nania to Andrew Williams. That set up a 2-yard touchdown plunge by Ruiz and a 2-point conversion by Nania that gave the Penguins a 17-14 edge.But Lunt went to work again, driving the Illini down the field before finding Ferguson in the end zone. Up 21-17, Illinois finally had a lead that would stick.

Ho Hum, Bears reserves fall to Browns 33-13–time now for REAL Football.

CLEVELAND—Brian Hoyer drove Cleveland’s starting offense to a rare preseason touchdown before turning things over to rookie Johnny Manziel in the Browns’ 33-13 exhibition win over the Bears on Thursday night.Hoyer and Cleveland’s offensive starters needed a boost after struggling in the preseason as they learn a new system. Hoyer went 6 of 8 for 69 yards on the opening drive against backups before Ben Tate scored on a 1-yard run.It was just the second TD for Cleveland’s first-team offense this summer and a confidence builder for Hoyer, who barely beat out Manziel for the starting job.Manziel threw a TD pass, finished 6 of 17 for 83 yards, ran for 55 and did some typical Johnny Football improvising.Bears wide receiver Santonio Holmes caught a 32-yard TD pass from rookie David Fales and returned a punt 30. Holmes only signed with the Bears on Aug. 16.Rookie running back Isaiah Crowell had a 48-yard TD and finished with 102 for the Browns (1-3). Billy Cundiff made four field goals.Browns coach Mike Pettine had little choice but to play his starters in the fourth preseason game following a horrific performance in a loss to St. Louis.Hoyer and Cleveland’s offense were desperate for a positive of any kind with the season opener against Pittsburgh just 10 days away. And although the early TD came against the Bears second- and third-stringers, the first unit’s 13-play, 85-yard march was something to build upon.On Wednesday, the Browns learned they’ll be without Pro Bowl wide receiver Josh Gordon, suspended for the season for another violation of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. Cleveland loses its best player and only deep threat.The Browns could be forced to trade for a wide receiver. But Nate Burleson should help. He played for the first time in the preseason and caught a 27-yarder from Manziel, who was at his Johnny Football finest on the play in the second quarter.Manziel danced around in the backfield, dodging several Bears before throwing a strike to Burleson, who has been slowed by a hamstring injury. That play set up Manziel’s 1-yard toss to tight end Jim Dray.Bears coach Marc Trestman rested starting quarterback Jay Cutler and backup Jimmy Clausen, giving Fales, a sixth-round pick from San Jose State, a chance to convince the Bears they should carry three QBs.Fales made a good case for himself, finishing 13 of 24 for 146 yards.Holmes is trying to catch on with the Bears after four turbulent seasons with the Jets. He was released in March following two sub-par, injury-plagued seasons. The 2009 Super Bowl MVP with Pittsburgh hasn’t played a complete season since 2011, and made just 43 receptions in the past two seasons.Holmes, 30, showed he’s still got some breakaway speed on his TD grab. He hauled in a short pass from Fales, spun away from two Cleveland defenders, including rookie cornerback Justin Gilbert, and scampered into the end zone untouched for a 10-7 lead.Bears rookie running back Jordan Lynch, a star quarterback at Northern Illinois, had 18 yards on six carries. He’s a long shot to make the final 53-man roster.

JRW falls short against S.Korea,but still U.S. LLWS Champs!

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WILLIAMSPORT—Seoul Little League defeated Chicago’s Jackie Robinson West to win the 2014 Little League World Series. Seoul won Sunday’s finale 8-4.Seoul, the representative for the Asia-Pacific group, went 5-0 in the LLWS, often flashing a powerful offense, averaging more than 8 runs per game.This marks the third championship for a team from South Korea, but the first since 1985.The game was close for a bit, as Jackie Robinson West,the U.S.Little League Champs after their Saturday revenge win over a very cocky Las Vegas team, cut the Seoul lead to 2-1 in the bottom of the third inning. Seoul would tack on one run in each the fourth and the fifth, making it 4-1 heading into the sixth and final frame. That’s when Seoul broke the game wide open with a four-run inning, collecting five hits in the first six at-bats of the inning.The offensive star Sunday was Dong Wan Sin, as he went 2 for 3 with a home run. Gyu Heon Kwon added two hits while Jae Yeong Hwang collected two RBI and a double.Jackie Robinson West, representing the Great Lakes region, was aiming to become the first Little League World Series winner from Illinois. They were held to just two hits — one each by D.J. Butler and Ed Howard — by Seoul pitchers Jae Yeong Hwang and Hae Chan Cho through the first five innings.Despite a seven-run deficit heading into the bottom of the sixth, Jackie Robinson West made a run at a comeback.Pierce Jones and Trey Hondras collected singles before being driven home on Darion Radcliff’s two-run single. Joshua Houston followed with a single and Radcliff scored on a passed ball. The rally fell short after that, though, and Seoul prevailed.The United States last had a champion in this event in 2011, when Huntington Beach, Calif., took home the title. Each of the previous two seasons champions hailed from Tokyo.

Bears blown into Puget Sound by Seahawks

SEATTLE—It’s for sure that the Bears still have much work to do, and do not measure up to the defending Super Bowl Champs.Seattle’s defense is expected to be among the best in the NFL again. If Russell Wilson and the Seahawks’ offense can play this well in the regular season, look out. It’s still just the preseason, but for the second straight week Wilson and the Seahawks weren’t stopped. Wilson threw for two touchdowns and ran for another score, helping the Seahawks rout the Bears 34-6 on Friday night. The third preseason game was especially important for the Seahawks, who have just a week between their exhibition finale at Oakland and the season opener on Sept. 4 against Green Bay. And coach Pete Carroll couldn’t have been happier. Carroll said. “Russell is really committed to what is happening. We’ve got a really nice receiving corps where the guys are all making their plays and a lot of guys are contributing to it. … We have good guys to go to, and they really believe in what we’re asking them to do. I think we’re just hitting at a pretty good clip right now. Hopefully we can keep it going.”
Seattle scored touchdowns on its first four possessions, and Steven Hauschka hit a 59-yard field goal — what would be a franchise record in the regular season — on the final play of the first half.
Wilson was behind center for nine straight scoring drives, dating to last week’s win over San Diego, a run of 55 points. It nearly reached 10 on the first drive of the second half before Hauschka’s 53-yard attempt clanged off the left upright.
Wilson completed 15 of 20 passes for 202 yards, including scoring tosses of 12 yards to Jermaine Kearse and 7 yards to Christine Michael. He found Percy Harvin and Kearse four times and spread passes to seven receivers in the first half. Wilson also had a 7-yard touchdown run.
“I thought the way that we played tonight was exceptional,” Wilson said. “We were in a rhythm. We were great on third downs. We were great in the red zone. We’re really starting to put things together.”
Marshawn Lynch got his first taste of the preseason with three carries for 16 yards and capped Seattle’s opening drive with a 7-yard TD run before putting on basketball shoes.A week after rolling up 260 yards of offense and 24 points in the first half against San Diego, the Seahawks had 250 yards and 31 points versus the Bears. Seattle converted all seven third-down opportunities in the first half. On special teams, Harvin returned the opening kickoff 46 yards, and the only grief was reserved for Earl Thomas who was caught by the punter on a 59-yard return that nearly broke for another Seattle touchdown.
“I was surprised he got tackled,” Wilson said. “I’m going to pick on him tomorrow.”
Along with Lynch getting his first real playing time of the preseason, Seattle saw center Max Unger, left tackle Russell Okung, safety Kam Chancellor and linebacker Malcolm Smith make their preseason debuts. The four mostly just played the first quarter. Jay Cutler played the entire first half and appeared to throw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Martellus Bennett late in the second quarter only to have Bennett ruled down at the 1 on review. Two plays later, after an offensive pass interference call on Brandon Marshall wiped out another touchdown, Cutler was intercepted at the goal line by Jeremy Lane.Cutler finished 12 of 20 for 157 yards, and Alshon Jeffery and Marshall had four receptions. But the Bears’ run game was again absent with just 21 yards on six carries in the first half.
“The good thing about it is that we are going to be able to make some corrections; we think a lot of this is fixable,” Bears coach Marc Trestman said. “And we’ll do that and we’ll be able to see how we are tied together in all three phases, because it was (clear) we lost the game in all three phases. That’s a credit to Seattle.
NOTES—The Bears played without defensive end Jared Allen (shoulder), rookie cornerback Kyle Fuller (ankle) and right tackle Jordan Mills (foot). … Hauschka’s career long in the regular season is 54 yards.

Rose sits as Team USA routs the Dominican Republic

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NEW YORK—Early in the third quarter, the crowd started chanting his name at Madison Square Garden.

“Der-rick Rose!”

Then, they did it again. And again. And again. All four times, they would be denied. There would be no Derrick Rose in the first of two Team USA exhibitions here this week, but the man himself said afterward that there’s nothing to worry about.He’ll play Friday, Rose said after the U.S. men’s national team toyed with the Dominican Republic in a 105-62 victory on Wednesday night.

“Just trying to protect myself, just knowing that this is a long, long schedule and this is the most basketball I’ll be playing in two years,” Rose said. “So I’m just going in, trying to gear up, making sure that I’m healthy.”

It’s essentially been a three-year journey for Rose, who has played only 10 games the past two seasons due to injuries to both knees. For those who might be a bit apprehensive after the injury to Paul George and withdrawal by All-Stars Kevin Love, Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge and Kevin Durant, Rose smiled as he set the record straight.

“No, not the knees,” he said. “No, no, no, no; you don’t have to worry about that.”

It was the fourth consecutive rest day for Rose, who hasn’t practiced or played since Team USA’s exhibition victory over Brazil on Saturday night in Chicago. His coach, Tom Thibodeau — an assistant with the national team and one who is notoriously vague about injuries of any kind — described it as “general soreness.” Rose described it as “just body fatigue.”

Teammate Stephen Curry said: “He doesn’t look hurt to me.”

Whatever the case, it’s understandable if the most decorated remaining member of a decimated Team USA has generated some uneasiness with his extended absence.

“We went in with the idea that as long as he’s feeling good, he’s going to play,” Thibodeau said. “He’s got to play at some point. Basically, he’s been out for three years, so he’s got to play. This is a great setting for him because of the depth of the team. … He doesn’t have to play a lot of minutes. He doesn’t have the burden; doesn’t have to score big. He just has to go out and play –- find the rhythm of the game, run the team. It’s ideal for him, but if he needs rest, we’re going to give him rest.”

Rose went through shootaround Wednesday morning and participated in pre-game warmups. At one point, he said the decision to sit was “a team thing.” At another point, he said, “They gave me the opportunity to go out there and play tonight, and I chose to rest a little bit.”

Then, he said, “I wouldn’t say it’s my call.”

It was frustrating, Rose said, but a necessary step in his comeback.

“Come on, here?” he said. “The crowd chanting your name like four or five times? Like, come on man; I want to be out there. But at the same time, my health is the No. 1 issue right now.”

With George suffering a gruesome leg injury in a Las Vegas scrimmage, and with reigning MVP Kevin Durant citing mental and physical fatigue in his decision to quit the team, the question of whether NBA players should risk injury in offseason international tournaments is now embodied by Rose.It was a question that commissioner Adam Silver addressed during a pre-game news conference to discuss the Hoops for Troops initiative between USA Basketball, the NBA and the U.S. military. Silver called it “an individual player decision.”

Seated next to Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the joint chiefs, Silver said: “There is a big risk without enormous financial reward. But I’m sitting next to our highest ranking military official, so I’m almost embarrassed to be talking about the risks that our players face as compared to what our men and women in uniform face.”

Curry, who has battled chronic ankle injuries in his young career, said he has “zero doubt” Rose will fulfill his commitment.

“There’s obviously been a lot of questions the past couple of weeks about whether we should be or should not be doing this or what’s in it for us,” Curry said. “But it’s some great memories. It’s a pretty cool fraternity of guys who’ve worn this jersey and won gold medals.”

So if you listen to Rose, his coach, and his teammates, there’s no reason to expect another oddly worded news release from Team USA explaining Rose’s decision to leave the team.If you take them at their word, then Rose will be out there on the practice floor on Thursday, and on the floor at the Garden on Friday night against Puerto Rico.And on the plane to Spain after that.

Hawks sign Leighton, same goalie they beat in the 2010 Finals.

The Blackhawks announced today that they have agreed to terms with goaltender Michael Leighton on a one-year contract. Leighton, 33, has posted 35 wins (35-41-14), a 2.97 goals-against average and .901 save percentage in 105 career regular-season games over parts of eight seasons with the Blackhawks (2002-2004), Nashville (2006-07), Philadelphia (2006-07; 2009-13) and Carolina (2007-09). He has notched an 8-4 record in 16 Stanley Cup Playoff games and currently holds the NHL record for most shutouts in a postseason series (3 vs. MTL in 2010 Eastern Conference Final).Leighton, originally drafted by the Blackhawks in the sixth round (165th overall) of the 1999 NHL Entry Draft, appeared in 42 contests over two seasons with the club during his NHL debut, collecting eight wins (8-21-10), a 2.81 GAA and a .901 SV%. He was the franchise’s first goaltender to post a shutout in his NHL debut after doing so on Jan. 8, 2003 vs. ARI. The Petrolia, Ontario, native spent last season with the KHL’s Donbass Donetsk, where he was part of a goaltending tandem that set a team record for fewest goals allowed during the regular season. Leighton, who helped the club reach the second round of the playoffs, shared third in the league with 20 regular-season wins, ranked seventh with a 1.74 GAA and ninth with a .934 SV%.Leighton has also notched 171 victories (171-144-29) in 354 career American Hockey League tilts spanning 10 seasons with the Norfolk Admirals (2001-05), Rochester Americans (2005-06), Portland Pirates (2006-07), Philadelphia Phantoms (2006-07), Albany River Rats (2007-08) and Adirondack Phantoms (2010-2013). He was named to the 2001-02 All-Rookie Team. During the 2007-08 season, Leighton was honored with the “Baz Bastien Memorial Award” as the league’s best goaltender and named to the First All-Star Team.

Rose and Davis help USA beat Brazil in Home Town

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USA Basketball won’t have Kevin Durant or Paul George or Kevin Love. They won’t have Blake Griffin or Russell Westbrook either. LeBron James, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, and Dwight Howard aren’t going to play when the competition isn’t happening in the Olympics. But Team USA is still full of great talent from the NBA and it was on display in the United Center.Playing in front of their hometown crowd, Derrick Rose and Anthony Davis reminded us of the super-human ways in which they’re capable of playing basketball. We’ve only seen 10 somewhat disappointing games from Rose since he tore his ACL in the 2012 playoffs, but his speed, quickness, strength, and incredible impact he’s capable of having on a basketball game were all on display against Brazil. Davis led all scorers with 20 points and was impossible for Brazil’s NBA big men to keep up with. Nene, Tiago Splitter, and Anderson Varejao all found themselves trailing Davis running the floor at some point in the game. He was catching lobs, challenging shots inside, and he even knocked down a couple of midrange jumpers to show off his versatility. Davis’ hustle and effort to dominate the game were on display in the fourth quarter as he went diving out of bounds and into the stands on the sideline to save a ball.James Harden added 18 points for Team USA and Stephen Curry put on a shooting display early in the first quarter. We were also treated to Kenneth Faried‘s relentless hustle on the boards early on as he helped boost an early lead for Team USA that quickly got to double digits. Splitter, Nene, and point guard Marcelo Huertas showed their ability to stick in games and match elite talent for long stretches as they helped Brazil fight back and make it a close game during the second quarter and again in the second half. They were able to answer the runs by Team USA, but eventually the style of play proved to be too much for Brazil. Next up for USA Basketball is a couple of exhibition games at Madison Square Garden in New York City on August 20 and August 22. They’ll play the Dominican Republic team and then Puerto Rico, as they decide on a final 12-man roster.