(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
When Serbia and the U.S. tip off the men’s basketball gold medal game, the Americans are going to need their big men to, well, play big.
DeAndre Jordan and DeMarcus Cousins will need to make their presence felt in the Olympic final.
The two combined for more fouls (5) than rebounds (4) in the first meeting against the physical Serbs in the preliminary round, a 94-91 win by the U.S. Jordan and Cousins did finish with a total of 18 points.
But Cousins has struggled to stay out of foul trouble in Rio and had five turnovers in that nail-biter. Because of his struggles Jordan, who has been named to the NBA All-Defensive team the last two seasons, started the two elimination-round games for defensive purposes.
Serbia’s 6-foot-11 center Miroslav Raduljica and 6-10 power forward Nikola Jokic, who plays for the Denver Nuggets, have given opponents fits. The two combined for 43 points against the U.S. in their first meeting.
So, the U.S. needs both its big men come to play Sunday, and it would timely for the Americans if Cousins could have a breakout game.