As the U.S. prepares to play Slovenia Tuesday, Kyrie Irving has 'fessed up that his back injury wasn't a trivial issue.
Irving was the victim of a hard fall against Ukraine and now says that the reason he couldn't sit down against Mexico was because it hurt so much. Two days of rest has no doubt helped.
As the U.S. preps for Slovenia, a member of the media tried to bait DeMarcus Cousins, asking him if he knew where Slovenia was.
"No," Cousins said. "Do you know where Alabama is?"
No word on the reporter's answer, but it's a reasonable bet that his sense of geography is better than that of Cousins, and that's not a knock on Cousins. Just look at the map: relatively recent history lessons for European kids would sort of require you to know where Slovenia, Croatia, and Serbia are. Go back to your parent's era and you might hear about the fall of the Iron Curtain. Go back to your grandparent's era, some of whom are still around to tell the stories, and you would hear about the SS, maybe stories about the Greek civil war.
We know an Italian-born man, for instance, who was forced into Hitler Youth and when the Americans mere miles away, was ordered along with his cousin to dig his own grave. When the guard was distracted by gunfire, young Achille ran for his life. His cousin was not so quick and lies in his grave today.
Unlike us, the Europeans are forced to confront their history on a constant basis.
Fortunately basketball is a more pleasant pursuit than the history of warfare on the Continent.
The key to stopping Slovenia is in controlling their extravagant three point shooting. The inside game is not as potent and they should have trouble defending the U.S. there. But if you get into an exchange of 3s for 2s, you're in trouble.
In other FIBA news, Australia is out, but FIBA is investigating their loss to Angola, suspecting that the Boomers rolled over so as to avoid the U.S. for as long as possible.
Meanwhile, in a nice bit of gamesmanship which might even be true, Nicolas Batum says that Spain is under serious pressure and that a loss to France would be a "national disaster" for Spain.
Game time for the U.S.-Slovenia is at 3:00; TV is ESPN.