Today in Manila, Team USA won their second game of the FIBA World Cup by defeating Greece, 109-81.
Team USA is now 2-0 in the tournament, having previously trounced New Zealand.
Without Giannis Antetokounmpo, Greece couldn’t keep up. Austin Reaves (Lakers), playing with the bench unit, led the American squad with 15 points, and Jalen Brunson (Go Knicks) and Anthony Edwards (Timberwolves) contributed 13 points apiece. For the Greeks, Georgios Papagiannis recorded 17 points in 23 minutes of play.
Fellow New York Knick Josh Hart snatched five offensive rebounds, matching Greece’s total for the game. Hart was once again relentless in Group C play.
Team USA led all quarters on their way to the win. Brunson has been an orchestrator of excellent ball movement and a balanced offensive attack in the squad’s first two games of official play. Today, the team recorded 25 assists on 34 field goals, and drained 34 free throws.
Through the first half, Georgios Papagiannis posed the most significant challenge to our heroes. On the American side, Reaves truly impressed in limited playing time. (Take note Brandon Ingram.) In one noteworthy play, Reaves stole the ball from Ioannis Papapetrou in the post and then slammed a transition dunk that sparked a timeout by Greece.
While the Greeks were able to keep pace through the first two quarters, the Americans pulled away after halftime. Post intermission, Anthony Edwards rebounded from a lackluster first half (four points, 1-for-6 shooting) by pouring in seven points. Around midway through the third quarter, a three-pointer by Jalen Brunson extended Team USA’s lead to 22 points, the largest of the game.
Team USA was firmly in control entering the fourth quarter. Late in the fourth frame, Greece got a nice highlight from Thanasis Antetokounmpo, who spun around Walker Kessler in the paint for a big slam. That made up for the four consecutive free throws Thanasis missed to start the second half.
Team USA will play their next match against Jordan on Wednesday at 4:40 a.m. ET.