The United States basketball team successfully finished the first stage of the FIBA World Cup in China. The Americans defeated Japan today with 98-45 and advanced to the next phase with all three wins.
Unlike against Turkey, when team USA had to go through overtime to reach the victory and struggled during the entire match, things were much more comfortable today.
Popovich’s boys didn’t allow for the rival to score more than 10 points in two of today’s four quarters. Right from the start they took over the control of the pace and dictated the tempo.
Following opening 10 minutes, their lead was 23-9, while at the halftime the scoreboard said 56-23.The only part of the game was the final period in which Japan managed to be a bit more competitive.
After almost losing against Turkey, who had a win in their pocket, this game was a good opportunity for the American players to relax a little bit and to have an easier training session.
Also, Popovich rested injured Jayson Tatum who will skip the next game and Marcus Smart. The most efficient player in the US team was Jaylen Brown who scored 20 points while shooting 9 of 15. He also added 7 boards to that. Kemba Walker had 15 with 8 dimes, while Harrison Barnes scored 14 with 8 rebounds.
Team USA had 58 rebounds, while Japan had 33.
Washington Wizards’ Rui Hachimura had just 4 points, and 4 rebounds, shooting 2 of 8 from the field. But one of his points was when he posterized Myles Turner with a spectacular dunk over the Indiana Pacers center.
Yudai Baba ended the game with 18 points and had a team-high for the Japanese team.
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) September 5, 2019
Japan recorded all three losses in the group phase, and they will have to play classification games now. Meanwhile, the USA advances to the next stage where they have to play against Brazil and Greece, led by Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The game against the Greek team will probably be the toughest one for Team USA. Giannis and the boys recorded a loss against Brazil, and they need to win both of their matches now to enter the knockout stage.
The Milwaukee Bucks forward and the NBA MVP caught his rhythm today after two not so good games. In the win against New Zealand, the Greek Freak scored 24 points and had 10 boards with 6 assists. Greece defeated their rivals with 103-97.
Giannis and the boys came to China with high ambitions, and the match with the US crew presents the ultimate challenge for them. It will no doubt be the biggest spectacle of the tournament so far.
— NBA (@NBA) September 5, 2019
In other games, the Czech Republic advanced to the next stage along with the USA. They have defeated Turkey earlier today with 91-76.
In the derby of the day, Australia managed to beat Lithuania with 87-82, which gave the Boomers a massive advantage in the race for the quarterfinals. These two teams progressed to the next round where they’ll meet with France and the Dominican Republic.
Brazil took first place in the assembly with Greece, New Zealand and Montenegro whom they easily defeated today with 84-73.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.