The only knock on Team USA at the World Cup (and through the five tune-up games before that) was that they tended to start slow and not find a stride until Tyrese Haliburton and Austin Reaves came in off the bench.
That changed on Wednesday. Coach Steve Kerr shook up his starting five by slotting in Josh Hart to replace the slumping Brandon Ingram. That, plus the fact they were playing their weakest opponent so far in Jordan, led to a 20-4 run to start the game for the Americans, who never looked back and won 110-62.
With the win the USA finished the first round of group play 3-0, winning each of their Group C games by at least 27 points. Now they advance to the second round of group play where that record carries over and they have to face undefeated Lithuania led by Pelicans center Jonas Valanciunas, and Montenegro, a team featuring Bulls center Nikola Vucevic. (The teams with the best five-game records out of that group, which will also include the winner of the New Zealand vs. Greece game on Wednesday, will advance to the eight-team knockout rounds.)
Anthony Edwards led Team USA with 22 points in the win over Jordan.
Every player on Team USA played at least a dozen minutes and everyone scored in this laugher of a win.
“It’s always fun when everybody gets to play and contribute,” U.S. coach Steve Kerr said, via the Associated Press.
Hart was a perfect fit with the starters. He focused on defense and rebounding in his new role and finished with 12 boards, while Ingram adds more firepower to a USA bench that was already dominating games.
Jordan was led by the Kobe tribute band that is Rondae Hollis Jefferson, who had 20 points to lead all scorers, on 6-of-16 shooting.
The USA and Canada have looked like the two best teams in the World Cup so far. There’s a second tier of teams that have looked good and are a threat, including Germany, Australia and Serbia.
Also on that list should be Lithuania, who the USA plays in the next round and will provide their best test so far in this tournament.
For now, USA Basketball can enjoy winning their group comfortably and moving on.
Source: Yahoo Sports