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Jalen Brunson leads USA to win over FIBA powerhouse Spain

The underdogs beat the favorites. Shocker!

2023 FIBA World Cup - USA v Spain Photo by Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images

New York Knicks point guard and Team USA supreme ruler Jalen Brunson delivered an immaculate performance on Sunday to put a cap on an extraordinary weekend of American hoops.

Scoring 21 points on a flawless 9-9 shooting, Brunson led the USA Basketball Men’s National Team to a 98–88 win over FIBA’s best-ranked Spain, on the lawn of the latter (and reigning) World Champions in Malaga, on the shores of the sunny Iberian country.

Spain (the no. 1 nation in the FIBA ranks) lifted the WC trophy in 2019 and they will be defending in Manila (Philippines) when the ball tips off a few days from now. The underdogs—as weird as that sounds—on Sunday, Team USA, didn’t have much trouble dealing with a Ricky Rubio-less Spaniard contingent after they already dealt an L to a Luka Doncic-less Slovenia a day earlier.

In four words: Brunson was the man.

Your beloved Knickerbocker finished the day with 21 points, 16 of them scored in the first half alone while hitting a perfect 7-of-7 shots in the first two quarters and adding another extraordinary couple of bangers (2-for-2, of course) through the final 20 minutes of play (that’s two full quarters in FIBA’s rulebook, just in case).

Brunson added five dimes and he was so good that he just couldn’t miss the net. Peep.

The USA goes on a little hiatus next as they embark on a trip to Abu Dhabi to face Greece on Aug. 18, then Germany on Aug. 20 at the tail end of next weekend. No more exhibitions after those three matchups with the World Cup tipping off for your national superheroes on Sat., Aug. 26 when Team USA will be facing New Zealand in their first game of the group stage.

Josh Hart didn’t score a single point, but RJ Barrett dropped 31 for the lads North of the Border. Sometimes you just can’t have it all.