The biggest team they'll ever be on

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The biggest team they'll ever be on

LONDON (AP) -- The U.S. men's Olympic basketball team is favored to win again, and some think it's a matter of the players just showing up.

If that's the case, they could be in real trouble.

Showing up anywhere has been difficult for the Americans, whose traveling woes have nothing to do with a call by the referee.

Friday they arrived nearly 20 minutes after the scheduled start for their opening press conference, making anxious photographers wait extra long for that first click when LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and the rest of the reigning gold medalists walked in.

"Two days we've had nothing but issues with transportation. No one's fault in particular, just general," USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said. "We've been through so many neighborhoods, when this is over we're going to be able to do a little history on the city of London."

The bus carrying the U.S. team Friday drove to the wrong gate, which when the heightened security is factored in at an Olympics venue, may as well be the wrong city. The team had a similar problem on its first trip to see the basketball arena Thursday, along with going to the wrong place after its arrival in London from Barcelona, Spain.

U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski joked that he wants his team to be as consistent with its shooting as the team's bus drivers have been with their loss of direction.

"So far we've gotten lost on every one of our bus trips, so right now it feels chaotic," he said.
They'll hope to have an easier time figuring out the route to the gold medal podium.

Before arriving in London, things had been going more smoothly for the Americans. They fit in five exhibition victories around the casinos of Las Vegas, a meeting with President Barack Obama in Washington before taking a day off to enjoy the sun and shops of Spain on Wednesday.

U.S. guard Russell Westbrook looked like he had just come from Barcelona, wearing shower shoes along with his U.S. basketball warmup suit.

The Americans aren't quite the megastars they were four years in Beijing, where basketball was wildly popular. Still, they're different than almost all the other athletes here, that being reinforced when the communications official reminded media that the press conference time shouldn't be used for player autographs or personal photos.

But the players are trying to act like regular Olympians, touring the athlete's village Thursday and meeting fellow American competitors such as sprinter Tyson Gay and swimmer Jason Lezak.

"It got crazy, it got hectic, but in a fun way," forward Carmelo Anthony said. "Everybody wanted pictures. We was out there just having fun, mingling with the other athletes, not just from the U.S. but from other countries. It feels good to be loved around the world."
Chris Paul said it's a mutual lovefest.

"I was explaining to (Westbrook) and (Kevin Durant) what's so cool about the Olympics is they are on the biggest team you'll ever be on," Paul said. "You see all the athletes with USA T-shirts on ... we're all teammates."

They begin play Sunday against France, a medal contender led by Spurs All-Star Tony Parker that features six NBA players, trailing only the U.S. for most in the field. The French are in a group of teams along with Spain, Argentina and Brazil -- all of whom lost to the Americans in exhibition play -- who could challenge a U.S. team that believes it's better than it was in 2008 but recognizes that its opponents are, too, and won't take anything for granted.

"I think there's always a target on our back and every team, their biggest game is against us," swingman Andre Iguodala said. "I feel like some teams are happy with just losing by less than 10. We had exhibition games where teams, they lost, but they were just happy it wasn't a 50-point game. And then sometimes even back home, like, we can't be arrogant. We have to be humble and we have to go in every game, play hard, play respectful, because anything done the wrong the way on our end will be blown out of proportion. So we're kind of, that microscope has been put on us."

The Americans were never threatened in 2008 until the gold-medal game, when they pulled away in the final two minutes to beat Spain by 11. They had some difficult stretches in exhibition play, trailing Brazil and Spain after one quarter and having a 20-point lead cut to four in the final minutes by Argentina, so they aren't assuming a simple path back to gold.

"I don't think anything's going to be easy," guard Deron Williams said.

Not even the bus rides.

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Nats reveal exactly how sick Drew really was after his walkoff triple

Nats reveal exactly how sick Drew really was after his walkoff triple

Often times with professional athletes, you can only find out how truly bad an injury or a predicament is once the game they had to perservere through is over. In hockey, it's after teams are eliminated from the playoffs that you learn who had the broken fingers and torn ligaments in their knee.

That is sometimes the case after good things happen, as well. Players do not like using their ailments as excuses before or during the competition. But after the event is over? Sure, what do you want to know?

After Saturday night's walkoff win over the San Diego Padres, we finally found out the true story behind Stephen Drew's 'flu-like symptoms' and how terribly debilitating his illness actually was. 

Well, we found out some of the specifics. Some are not for a family audience.

"I don't want to say it on TV, but it's been ugly," Drew said. "Anywhere from high fever to everything else, you name it. It's been crazy."

Fair enough. No complaints there. More important was what Drew was able to accomplish in the win, his first appearance in a game since last Sunday. Drew sent the Nats home victorious with a walkoff RBI triple in the bottom of the ninth against Padres reliever Kevin Quackenbush. It was a line drive that fell just inches short of a homer.

Maybe if Drew hadn't been weakened by the flu, it would have cleared the fence. Still, not bad for a guy who had barely swung a bat in a week.

"I ain't done nothing [in six days]. Today is the first time," Drew said. "I tried to hit some [Friday] but just felt really, really lightheaded and kind of dizzy. That's what's left over. I just gotta keep pumping fluids down right now."

Drew had essentially been quarantined by the Nationals for days after he contracted the flu from teammate Anthony Rendon. They gave him IVs and then sent him home, keeping his name on the lineup card as a decoy. He wasn't in the dugout, but the Nats did their best to not let their opponents know he was unavailable.

"He was home not eating, couldn't hold any food. I think he lost 7-8 pounds," manager Dusty Baker said. 

Though still ailing, Drew turned a corner on Saturday and felt good enough to stick around for the full game. As the night went on, he realized he could play.

"I was able to hit in a cage. It wasn't great, but it's better than nothing," Drew said. "Right before the inning I kind of knew what was going on. I told [hitting coach Rick] Schu, he ran over there and I guess told [Baker] again just to let him know."

Drew took the first pitch from Quackenbush for a ball and the second for a strike. He then fouled off two pitches before launching a 77 mile per hour curveball high up the wall in right-center field. 

It was an excellent swing and one that felt familiar to Drew, who has been a plus off the bench for the Nats all season.

"Honestly, I was still in the mindset that I had. It's been a good feeling. Really not trying to do too much, just trying to get a good pitch and get my A-swing off," he said.

Drew has been part of a Nationals bench that has turned into a real strength this season. Drew himself his now 6-for-20 (.300) with three homers and six RBI in 20 pinch-hit at-bats. 

This one was different, of course, and him coming through while under the weather was a big lift for his teammates.

“Sometimes you get your number called even when you’re sick. You come out and make a performance like that, be able to pinch-hit and get a triple," starter Max Scherzer said. 

"That’s huge. That just shows you the resiliency of everybody in this clubhouse, to be able to go out there no matter what and compete and do something to help the ballclub."

"I’ve played days when I’m sick and those are the days when I get three hits. You don’t think, you just go out there and play," center fielder Ben Revere said. 

"I was kind of telling Anthony, I’m like, ‘Get me sick so I can get some hits.’ Usually I play well when I’m feeling down and blue. But it’s tough. It’s tough. I knew the pitcher had a good curveball but I had a feeling if he threw it to Drew, he’s going to do some damage and sure enough he did."

Drew appears to be back to form after a wild week. But he still felt the need to pepper in some knock-on-woods as he spoke after the win.

"I'm getting better. It's been a long process and frustrating, but I'm hopefully at the end of this thing and I'll go from there," he said.

[RELATED: Nats name Giolito as Sunday starter vs. Padres]

SCROLL DOWN FOR MORE NATIONALS STORIES

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Huerter, Turgeon win gold medal with Team USA win over Canada

Huerter, Turgeon win gold medal with Team USA win over Canada

Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon and incoming freshman guard Kevin Huerter will return home from Chile with gold medals after Team USA's 99-84 victory over Canada in the championship game of the U18 FIBA Americas title on Saturday night.

Turgeon served on the team's staff as an assistant. Huerter contributed throughout the tournament, including finishing as the team's leading scorer in a victory over Chile

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A photo posted by Kevin Huerter (@kevin_huerter) on

"It was an extremely great feeling to win and be on the podium with my teammates as champions," Huerter said in a release. "It was a great experience. We played in front of great crowds and were able to overcome adversity against great teams."

Huerter, a 6-6 guard who can play both backcourt positions, figures to be a contributor for Maryland in 2016-17. His outside shooting stroke should allow him to slot seamlessly into Turgeon's well-spaced scheme.

Turgeon served on the Team USA staff with Connecticut head coach Kevin Ollie and Texas head coach Shaka Smart.

MORE TERPS: LAYMAN RECAPS SUMMER LEAGUE PERFORMANCE

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Kevin Gausman goes a strong seven in Orioles' 5-2 win

Kevin Gausman goes a strong seven in Orioles' 5-2 win

BALTIMORE—Kevin Gausman has pitched well this season. He just hasn’t had many wins. In his 17th start, Gausman picked up his second win. 

Gausman worked seven innings, and didn’t allow a run and only four hits in the Orioles’ 5-2 win over the Cleveland Indians before 31,946 at Oriole Park on Saturday night. 

The win gave the Orioles (56-40) a 1 ½ game lead over Boston in the AL East. They Orioles are an outstanding 35-14 at home. 

Gausman (2-7) gave up a double to Carlos Santana to start the game, but he was the only Cleveland (56-40) runner to reach scoring position in the first eighth innings. Mike Napoli walked, but Jose Ramirez popped to third to end the fist. 

He struck out seven and walked three in throwing a career high 116 pitches. Gausman was helped out by three double plays in the fourth, five and sixth. 

Gausman’s best inning was the seventh, when he retired Ramirez, Lonnie Chisenhall and Tyler Naquin in order. He struck out Naquin three times. 

The Orioles have taken four of five against the Indians this season. 

“It’s always good. But it’s more important that we won this series. That’s a very good team that we are playing. I think they have the most runs scored in the American League. It’s a good offense and I think me and [Dylan] Bundy both pitched well the last few days and really everybody has pitched well. I think that more than anything is big. Any time you beat a team in the American League, especially a team that is leading their division, it’s huge,” Gausman said. 

Manager Buck Showalter has said he doesn’t care how many wins he’s starters have. 

“I’m happy to see the Orioles get the win and so is Kevin,” Showalter said. “I’m telling you, it’s not a topic or a theme. I understand that that’s something that’s consistently appearing and I’m sure because we talk about it a lot in here, but I’m happy that he got a return for a really good outing.”

For the second straight night, the Orioles scored three runs in the first inning. Adam Jones led off with a single. With one out, Manny Machado patiently waited Josh Tomlin out and then tapped a single to right. Jones was running on the pitch and made it to third.

Chris Davis grounded to second. Machado was forced, and Davis beat the throw to first, allowing Jones to score.  

Mark Trumbo hit his 30th home run to left field, and the Orioles had a 3-0 lead. Trumbo is just four games away from his career high set in 2013. 

“He's been very valuable. He's been a real consistent human being. He likes to compete. He doesn't like to fail. It's an honor to be around him,” Showalter said. 

At one point, Tomlin (10-3) retired 10 straight. He was removed after Pedro Alvarez hit a long home run to right field to start the seventh. It was Alvarez’s 12th of the season. 

J.J. Hardy singled off Jeff Manship. He eventually scored on Jonathan Schoop’s infield single to make it 5-0. 

Mychal Givens pitched a perfect eighth. Brad Brach allowed a two-run double to Lonnie Chisenhall with two outs in the ninth, and for the second straight night, Zach Britton recorded the final out and picked his 32nd save. 

Britton tied a major league record for most consecutive converted saves by a left-hander.  

“Just trying to roll with it, not really think about what’s going on just stay in the moment a little bit. I think it’s helping so far. Maybe in the offseason I can think about it a little more,” Britton said. 

Usually, Showalter tries to limit Britton to no more than three consecutive games, but he’s only thrown 19 pitches in three days. 
“If anything, the warmup is the hardest part of the last three days. If there’s an opportunity tomorrow, physically I feel fine,” Britton said.

NOTES: Showalter said that Darren O’Day will activated either Sunday or Monday. … It was the first time all season Brach had allowed more than one run. … Play was interrupted by rain for 14 minutes after the third inning. … The Orioles signed 34 of their 41 draft picks, including their first 17. The highest picked player not to sign was Tyler Blohm, a left-handed pitcher from Archbishop Spalding in Severn, Md. The 18th rounder will attend the University of Maryland in the fall. … Corey Kluber (9-8, 3.42) faces Vance Worley (2-1, 3.16) on Sunday. The first 20,000 fans 15 and over receive a Jim Palmer replica jersey.