Iguodala, Team USA win opener

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Andre Iguodala jokes around during practice on Friday. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Sixers forward Andre Iguodala was in the starting lineup as Team USA opened play in the World Championships with a 106-78 win over Croatia in a Group B game in Istanbul.

Iguodala had five points, three rebounds, two assists and three steals and saw 14:24 of action.

Eric Gordon (Los Angeles Clippers) had 16 points on 4-of-6 shooting from 3-point. Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder) contributed 14 points and grabbed eight rebounds; Chauncey Billups (Denver Nuggets) finished with 12 points and four assists; while Rudy Gay (Memphis Grizzlies) and Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder) scored 10 points each. Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves) led the USA on the glass, recording a game best 10 rebounds while adding seven points.

Team USA faces Slovenia today in its second game of the tournament.

Here are some of Iguodala's thoughts ... Plus look for another edition of Dre's Diary in Monday's Daily News.

On the game, good to finally play in the tournament?
It was good. Training camp went well. Exhibition games went well. We are trying to take it one game at a time. Tonight really showed if we clamped down our defense, it’s going to be tough to beat us. We got to continue to focus on that area and let the game be easy for us.

On the second period run:
It started from the first possession. We really clamped down. Our point of emphasis was to make them take tough shots and make them play out of their comfort zone and we did that. They didn’t have too many turnovers – they took care of the ball, they only had two in the second quarter – but we were able to get them out of their comfort zone, get out on the break, use our athleticism and make the game easy for us.

On protecting the ball:
We just got to make simple plays. We got all the best players in the NBA … we’re all the go to guys on our team so we just need to make the game easier for each other … not press too much … just play easy basketball and defense.

What is the focus on improvement for Slovenia?
We got to play better defense. We got to follow the mode of the second quarter for the first, third and fourth quarters … put teams away early and not let them really get their confidence up.

On thoughts on playing Slovenia:
We’re going to get everyone’s best game so tomorrow, they have a few guys that play in the league. (Goran) Dragic had a great year with the Suns. I know he’s looking forward to having a good game. They are going to come out and try to have their best game.
 

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