The result was never in question, as Team USA blew out Jordan 110-62 on Wednesday. With the win, Team USA finishes the first round of the FIBA World Cup 3-0, and are now heading to the second group stage.
The Lakers’ very own Austin Reaves wasn’t the World Cup darling he’s been the past few games — he was more so just another rotation player in the win ended the night with 8 points — but NBA All-Star Anthony Edwards was spectacular, scoring 22 points on 8-16 shooting.
Steve Kerr chose to alter the starting lineup by inserting Josh Hart in place of Brandon Ingram, and that first group didn’t struggle against Jordan. Instead, Team USA started the game up 20-4 midway through the quarter. Edwards was a tyrant, outscoring Jordan himself with 13 in the opening quarter. Reaves saw his first minutes of play at the four-minute mark but had a pedestrian shift, as he didn’t even attempt a shot.
Down by 19, Jordan had nothing to lose and NBA Twitter favorite Rondae Hollis Jefferson went to work, scoring seven straight points early in the second quarter to cut the lead to 12. He ended the night with 20 points for Jordan.
Reaves went 1-3 from the field in the first half with his only highlight being a nice 1-on-1 play that turned into a three-pointer. Luckily for the U.S., they didn’t need an elite performance from Reaves to dominate as they led by 29 points at the break.
To start the third, Team USA’s maniacal defense forced turnovers and created fastbreak opportunities. This ball pressure led to the dunk of the night, when Edwards had a windmill slam that shook the entire arena.
Reaves stayed relatively quiet throughout the second half but had a nice putback tip in early in the fourth as the U.S. lead ballooned to 43. Reaves was subbed out for good with 3:20 left in the game as Team USA cruised to victory scoring 100 points in back-to-back World Cup games for the first time since 2006.
Reaves and Team USA did what they were supposed to do in the first round: Dominate their opponents and cruise to the second group. Now the U.S. moves on to the second group stage and will play Montenegro on Friday (with the time still to be determined).
With the intensity rising and the quality of opponents increasing as we move forward, it will be interesting to see who rises to the occasion and who Kerr trusts in these scenarios. Given Reaves’ track record in the NBA, he should be up for the challenge of performing well in crunch time minutes if called upon.
You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.