In their last warm-ups before the FIBA World Cup begins this weekend, Team USA and Croatia breezed to unexpectedly big wins. but the two Nets who play for the winning teams played very different roles. Mason Plumlee didn't play until long after the US has scrambled Slovenia in Gran Canaria, Spain, while Bojan Bogdanovic exploded for 24 points in 23 minutes to spark Croatia's 94-80 win over Lithuania, in the Croatian capital of Zagreb.
Bogdanovic put on a clinic against Lithuania, hitting 10-of-15 shots overall, including 5-of-9 from deep. Three of them came in quick succession in the third when Lithuania made a move after going down early, again courtesy of the Nets rookie. Bogdanovic had nine points in the first quarter when Croatia went up 27-15 over Lithuania, who many see as a contender for a medal. (Mantas Kalneitis, the Lithuanian point guard who worked out for the Nets this summer, went down early in the game, dislocating his collar bone. He will not play in the World Cup.)
In addition to his big scoring day, Bogdanovic grabbed three rebounds and handed out four assists. Before the game, Bogdanovic was named Croatian Player of the Year, beating out Dario Saric, the 76ers draft pick who scored 16 points.
In Gran Canaria, Anthony Davis scored 18 points and teamed with Kenneth Faried, who had 14 to dominate the inside, leading the U.S. national team to a 101-71 victory over Slovenia on Tuesday in its final exhibition game before the FIBA World Cup of Basketball. Plumlee played only two minutes at the games end, didn't score and grabbed one board.
On Saturday, the US opens against Finland in Bilbao and Croatia opens against the Philippines and Andray Blatche in Sevilla while Mexico and Jorge Gutierrez go up against Lithuania in Gran Canaria. The US finished 4-0 in its "friendly" games, with Plumlee playing a total of 26 minutes, grabbing 10 boards and scoring 13 points, the least on the 12-man roster. Croatia played nine games, winning six.
Lietuva - Kroatija.(Video) - Sport TV Lithuania