USA Basketball: Key Takeaways From Early Group Stages
USA Basketball was off to a rocky start. The roster was up in the air until the last day before tip off and the people were considering this team the worst in a long time. Losing to Spain in the qualifying round only confirmed those doubts. It appears they are starting to turn things around going 4-0 to start off the group stages. Here is a breakdown of their performance so far.
Win Over Czech Republic 88-67
USA basketball opened up the group stages with an 88-67 win over Czech Republic. No surprises here, USA was just simply a far better team. Donovan Mitchell led the team with 16 points, with Harrison Barnes, Kemba Walker, and Jayson Tatum all putting up double digits. One of the main story lines from this game is the four Celtics players on the team. They combined for 29 points and 9 assists. Donovan Mitchell took the game over in the 4th, leading them to their first victory.
Win Over Turkey 93-92
USA pulled out a tough game in overtime in this one. It was truly anyone’s game at the end, but Kris Middleton sank the game sealing free throws with 2.1 seconds left. Middleton also led the team in scoring with 15 points followed closely by Kemba Walker with 14 points. The main story line in this game was Jayson Tatum going down late with an ankle sprain. It originally seemed worse than it actually is. He is currently set to be reevaluated on September 9th with the hopes of coming back soon. Celtics fans can breathe a sigh of relief.
Win Over Japan 98-45
This is perhaps team USA’s easiest win yet. They simply outclassed the Japanese national team. Jaylen Brown led the team in scoring with 20 points, followed by four other players putting up double digits. Everyone got involved here, but Jaylen Brown put on a show with a couple highlight dunks that he has made look routine at this point. Japan may not be in the same class as team USA, but anytime you win by 53 points you know things are clicking on all cylinders.
Win Over Greece 69-53
USA basketball started off the second group stage by taking down the reigning MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Greece. Kemba Walker led the team in scoring with 15 points, with Donovan Mitchell chipping in 10 as well. USA limited Giannis to just 15 points and shut down their offense in general. There was a little drama towards the end of this game after a hard foul by Thanasis Antetokounmpo. Jaylen Brown was seen having words with Giannis after the game, but was pushed away by Kris Middleton.
Where They Go From Here
USA is set to play Brazil next in the second group stage. They should take care of them rather easily. Kemba Walker needs to continue to lead the team. He has been so consistent averaging 14.3 points per game. In addition, getting Jayson Tatum back should allow them to continue the standard of dominance for USA basketball.