The United States men’s national basketball team have defeated Spain in its first warmup match before the FIBA World Cup in Spain, 90-81. The game took place in Anaheim, California.
Gregg Popovich’s boys have been dominating since the start of the match, using their quickness over Spain’s lineup. The Spaniards couldn’t keep the tempo set by Kemba Walker, Donovan Mitchell, De’Aaron Fox and the rest of the USA’s guards.
What was also noticeable, was the excellent shooting percentage of the American team, who finished the game with 54.8%. Team USA would end the game with 11 made three-pointers from 19 shots, which was also fantastic. The hosts would get an early lead, which stretched to double-digit figures and just maintained it until the end of the game.
With a huge range of different weapons, Popovich controlled the pace of the match mostly through excellent offense, whose only negative thing was the number of turnovers – 23. That is something he needs to fix, but at this point, it could be understandable, as the team still creates chemistry. The start of the third quarter was a bit problematic when hosts had six turnovers in nine possessions.
Unlike three days ago when Team USA lost a scrimmage game against the G League players, they looked much better now. It seems that they produced a reaction and that Gregg Popovich explained certain things which simply have to be implemented in order to play good.
Top scorers at the American team were Donovan Mitchell with 13 points, Khris Middleton had 12, Jayson Tatum 11, same as Kemba Walker. The Celtics new player had an all-around game with 6 boards and 8 dimes on top of those points.
— NBA (@NBA) August 17, 2019
What needs to be added is the fantastic control of the glass by the USA. Popovich’s boys allowed only 20 board to the opponent, while they had 42.
On the other side, the Spanish team was near mostly because of a solid three-point shooting percentage, which stood at 48%, 12 of 25. Inside the arc, they had a very bad shooting night with just 17 hits in 46 attempts. March Gasol scored 19 points, with 4 rebounds, Ricky Rubio had 16, with 7 assists and 5 steals, while Sergio Lull added 11 buckets and 6 assists.
This is not the real picture of neither of the teams, but it could give us some information about the limits of the crews.
After the contest, Gregg Popovich didn’t want to talk about the numbers, especially the individual stats. He is not interested in that but more in how his guys looked on the floor and whether they managed to get something positive from this one.
Pop noticed one of the box scores in front of him and started talking about the +/- index, saying that he didn’t want to look at it.
“I didn’t look at it,” San Antonio’s leader told, explaining that these numbers could be very misleading.
Gregg Popovich riffs on single-game plus-minus: “I’ve never looked at it. … It’s the last thing I look at, if I look at it.” pic.twitter.com/e7Jk8DU5r5
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) August 17, 2019
Popovich said that different parts of the match have different flows and can impact differently on the final results; therefore, he doesn’t want to pay much attention to it.
“It is the last thing I look at it, if I do.”
This was the ultimate game for the USA team at home before the start of the World Cup. They will now head for Australia to have several tests there, and eventually reach China.
Until the start of the tournament, Popovich has to cut two names, and make a final 12-men roster. The first game at the WC will be against the Czech Republic on September 1st. After that, the USA faces Japan and Turkey.
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.