Clinching silver, Turkey loses to US team in World Basketball Championship final
Turkey last night was unable to stop an outstanding performance by Kevin Durant, who led the United States to an 81-64 victory in the 2010 FIBA World Basketball Championship final. The Oklahoma City Thunder forward poured in 28 points to lead all scorers at the Sinan Erdem Dome in Istanbul, giving Team US its first world title since 1994. Coming off a historic win over Serbia in the semifinal on Saturday night, Turkey nevertheless fell short against the US side, which took the lead early in the game and never gave it up. "Hedo," the Phoenix Suns' Hidayet Turkoglu – Turkey's highest-profile player – finished the game with 16 points, a game high for Turkey. Durant was later named Most Valuable Player in the tournament. "I'm very proud and happy to be the captain of this team and hope that my teammates go on and become great players," he said. Apart from Durant and Hedo, Argentine Luis Scola, Serbian guard Milos Teodosic and Lithuanian Linas Kleiza also made the tournament's all-star team. Lithuania took the bronze medal with a 99-88 win over Serbia, while Argentina finished fifth after an 86-81 victory against Spain. In a ceremony, the members of the US team got their gold medals from President Abdullah Gul, while Parliament Speaker Mehmet Ali Sahin presented the members of the Turkish team with silvers. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was also present to watch the game. Turkish team coach Bogdan Tanjevic thanked the national and local government for giving $100 million to help organize the tournament. Thanking Turkish fans for their unwavering support, he added, "They supported us very well and gave us energy all through the tournament." The silver medal finish gave Turkey's "12 Giant Men" its highest-ever showing in the World Championship, which they finished sixth in 2006. Turkey was also a silver medalist in the European Basketball Championship in 2001, also hosted by Turkey. The runner-up spot is arguably the biggest success of any Turkish team sport on the international level. "Today we are the champions of the rest of the world," Tanjevic said, laughing, "because the US is a different team."