In a closely contested match, Team USA managed to secure a victory against Montenegro at the FIBA World Cup, winning 85-73. While Montenegro’s coach praised his team’s performance, the American squad displayed resilience and strong individual play to come out on top.
- Strong Guard Play: Team USA’s victory was fueled by excellent performances from guards Anthony Edwards, Tyrese Haliburton, and Austin Reaves. Edwards scored 17 of his 17 points in the second half, showcasing his scoring versatility. Haliburton contributed with 10 points, 6 assists, and 2 steals.
- Quarterfinal Advancement: The win positions Team USA favorably for advancement to the World Cup quarterfinals. However, it also highlighted the challenges ahead, including a matchup against Lithuania, known for its size and skill.
- Size Disadvantage: Team USA’s biggest weakness remains its size, a fact evident from the start of the tournament. Montenegro, with NBA star Nikola Vucevic, capitalized on its size advantage by dominating the rebounding battle.
- Edwards’ Impact: Anthony Edwards, after a slow start in the first half, made crucial baskets in the third quarter to shift the game’s momentum. His scoring ability proved pivotal for Team USA.
- Vucevic’s Performance: Nikola Vucevic, who recently signed a lucrative deal with the Chicago Bulls, played a significant role for Montenegro. He displayed physicality and skill, finishing with 18 points and 15 rebounds.
- Three-Point Struggles: Team USA struggled from beyond the arc, shooting 1-of-9 in the first half and 5-of-19 for the game. They also missed several free throws and committed turnovers, highlighting areas for improvement.
In summary, Team USA faced a formidable challenge from Montenegro but managed to secure a vital victory. The match served as a valuable learning experience, especially in handling tight situations, and highlighted the team’s need to address its size disadvantage as the competition intensifies in the FIBA World Cup.