ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — A quick begin was all that USA Basketball wanted to stay unbeaten because it retains transferring nearer to the Fiba World Cup.
Anthony Edwards scored 21 factors, Cam Johnson added 13 and the U.S. by no means trailed Friday in a 108-86 win over Greece in a World Cup tune-up recreation for each groups.
Austin Reaves and Jaren Jackson Jr. every had 11 for the U.S., which improved to 4-0 in its five-game exhibition season earlier than flying to the Philippines subsequent week to start out World Cup play. The Individuals had all 12 gamers rating, and Mikal Bridges and Bobby Portis every completed with 10 factors.
“I really feel like we acquired it going fairly good,” Edwards stated.
Greece is enjoying with out Giannis Antetokounmpo, the two-time NBA MVP for Milwaukee who’s sidelined this summer time whereas recovering from offseason knee surgical procedure. Panagiotis Kalaitzakis and Nikos Rogkavopoulos every scored 12 for Greece. Thomas Walkup and Georgios Papagiannis added 11 apiece.
“These video games, these friendlies, they’re glorified practices,” Walkup stated. “That’s what they’re. After all you wish to win, however we wish to come out right here to compete, get higher, make things better.”
Greece, even with out Antetokounmpo, figures to be the highest competitors for the U.S. when group-stage play begins on the Fiba World Cup subsequent weekend. Greece is the No. 9 nation within the FIBA rankings; New Zealand is No. 26 and Jordan is No. 33.
The highest two finishers in every group transfer to the second spherical. Not surprisingly, the race in Group C looks as if will probably be for second place after the best way this exhibition turned out.
The Individuals — simply as they did at instances of their first three exhibitions in opposition to Puerto Rico, a Slovenia workforce enjoying with out Luka Doncic and Spain — seemed dominant in some stretches. That they had a double-digit lead halfway by the primary quarter, had been up by 17 by the point the sport was 9 minutes outdated and by no means appeared in any bother.
That stated, there are two huge areas that fear U.S. coach Steve Kerr.
“The priority is turnovers and rebounds,” Kerr stated. “If we keep even on the possession recreation, I really feel nice about our possibilities in opposition to anyone. The best way groups can beat us is that if they get further possessions and pressure plenty of turnovers and we’re not sharp and we’re not boxing out. I’ve advised our guys that. I’ll inform you guys that. It’s probably not a secret. So, that’s our focus.”
The U.S. solely outscored Greece 76-71 over the ultimate 31 minutes — largely due to 20 turnovers.
“They let up just a little bit, for certain,” Walkup stated. “We’re conscious of that. We’re not tricking ourselves.”
Greece: The workforce had three gamers with NBA regular-season expertise: Thanasis Antetokounmpo performs for Milwaukee, Kostas Papanikolaou made 69 appearances with Houston and Denver and Papagiannis performed in 39 video games with Sacramento and Portland. … The workforce additionally has Texas-born guard Walkup, who performed in faculty at Stephen F. Austin. He was naturalized and acquired a Greek passport earlier this 12 months, enabling him to play on this occasion.
USA: Among the many NBA faces in attendance had been Orlando coach Jamahl Mosley (who has Magic gamers Paolo Banchero, Moritz Wagner and Franz Wagner enjoying in Abu Dhabi this weekend) and Brooklyn basic supervisor Sean Marks. … Walker Kessler was the primary sub off the U.S. bench, partially due to Greece’s dimension, and all 12 American gamers had gotten into the sport by the primary possession of the second quarter.
The beginning lineup for the Individuals has been the identical now in all 4 exhibitions: Jalen Brunson, Bridges, Edwards, Brandon Ingram and Jackson Jr. Kerr has tinkered with different mixtures in practices, simply in case, however that first group hasn’t modified on recreation days.
Not a lot conclusive may be learn from exhibition video games, however out of 32 World Cup-bound groups, the U.S. is one among 5 nations nonetheless unbeaten on this summer time’s slates of warm-up video games. France is 6-0 with one recreation left, Italy is 5-0 with two video games left, Latvia is 4-0 with two video games left and Brazil is 3-0 with two video games left (together with one in opposition to Italy).
Greece: Performs Germany on Saturday in Abu Dhabi in its final pre-World Cup recreation.
USA: Performs Germany on Sunday in Abu Dhabi, the ultimate World Cup tune-up for each groups.
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