ISTANBUL --- The so-called B-Team turned out to be the best team in the world.
The United States won its first world championship since 1994 on Sunday, beating Turkey 81-64 behind another sensational performance from tournament MVP Kevin Durant.
Durant had 28 points, setting a record along the way for most in the tournament by a U.S. player.
Lamar Odom added 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Americans, who won gold in the worlds for only the fourth time, doing so with a team that was no sure thing after coming to Turkey without the superstars from its Olympic gold medal team.
With Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Co. sitting home, this group was called a "B-Team," which the players were aware of and used as motivation.
Durant, who scored 33 and a U.S.-record 38 points in the previous two games, again took care of the offense, qualifying the U.S. for the 2012 Olympics.
Hedo Turkoglu, of the Phoenix Suns, scored 16 points for the Turks, who were bidding for their first title and were boosted by huge crowd support, with fans in red filling most of the 15,000-seat Sinan Erdem Dome.
Durant scored 20 in the first half, then hit consecutive 3-pointers early in the third quarter, yelling at Turkish fans sitting courtside and pounding his chest after the second, as the U.S. quickly extended a 10-point halftime lead.
The Americans already knew they'd be bringing a different team to Turkey after all the gold medalists from the 2008 Olympics opted to take this summer off. Then All-Star forwards Amare Stoudemire and David Lee were forced to withdraw on the opening day of training camp.
The U.S. was left with a young, undersized team, featuring six players 22 or younger and only one true center in Tyson Chandler, who quickly became a backup when forward Odom was installed as the starter..
The U.S. held Turkey to one field goal over the first 6 minutes of the second quarter, extending the lead to 10 on a 3-pointer by Durant. The Americans were ahead 42-32 at halftime.
The Turks were a step slow and consistently beaten on the boards, perhaps drained from their thrilling 83-82 victory over Serbia in Saturday's late game.
Lithuania beat Serbia for the bronze earlier in the day.