(East Los Angeles, CA) [From The Editor’s Desk]: Yes, they’ve done it again for the fourth consecutive time! Eventhough the score may have been under their normal output of 90+ points per game, TEAM USA managed to come from behind from their small halftime deficit of (1) point, to then power themselves in the 2nd half to cruise into the winners circle with a (12) point victory over the European zone participant, Montenegro. The final score was (85-73).
FIBA has identified Cape Verde, South Sudan, Georgia, Finland, and Latvia as countries who are making their debuts as beneficiaries of the FIBA Main Office’s attempt to include other under-represented countries who have demonstrated increasingly more competitive National teams during their annual sponsored tournaments, all with the intention of qualifying more teams for the Olympic Games and then the World Cup tournaments, such as this current one being played in multiple, but prominently known cities. Add Indonesia and Japan as the other two hosting countries.
Here is the USA Basketball Communications Team’s account of the victory.
USA Moves To 4-0 at World Cup with 85-73 Win Over Montenegro
The United States beat Montenegro 85-73 on Friday evening in Manila, Philippines to move to 4-0 at the 2023 FIBA Men’s World Cup.
The USA will face Lithuania, who also has a (4-0) record, in the final pool play game on Sunday at 5:40 a.m. PST / 8:40 p.m. PHT / 8:40 a.m. ET. This could be TEAM USA’s most competitive game of the Tournament and will be greatly watched by the world’s audiences. The U.S. is seeking its sixth FIBA Men’s World Cup gold medal.
[Starting Out]: The United States employed the same starting lineup as they did in their win over Jordan: Jalen Brunson, Anthony Edwards, Mikal Bridges, Josh Hart and Jaren Jackson Jr.
[Worth Noting]: This 85-73 win marked the first-ever meeting between the two countries in men’s basketball.
[Don’t Look Back]: Edwards put the USA up 50-48 with 5:02 left in the third quarter, which gave the Americans the lead for good. The game had six lead changes. The USA trailed 38-39 at halftime.
[Turnovers]: The U.S. won the turnover battle, forcing Montenegro into 22 (to their 12). The Americans scored 17 points off turnovers.
[Tale of Two Halves]: The U.S. entered the locker room trailing for the first time of the tournament, but had an improved second half to secure the win. After shooting 13-for-37 (.351) in the first half, the U.S. responded with a 17-for-36 (.472) performance in the final two quarters. The U.S. also shot 1-for-9 (.11) from deep in the first half before going 4-for-10 (.400) in the second half.
[Team Effort]: The USA outscored Montenegro from the bench 39-26. Haliburton (10), Austin Reaves (12), and Paolo Banchero (8) combined for 30 of those points.
[Ant Leads Again]: After a slow start, Edwards scored a team-high 17 points—all in the second half. Edwards leads the U.S. in scoring, averaging 16.5 points per game. He was named the TCL Player of the Game for the second time this tournament (also Jordan).
[Double-Digit Performers]: Reaves (12), Jackson Jr. (11), Bridges (10) and Haliburton (10) all scored in double figures after strong second halves. Reaves scored nine of his 12 points at the free throw line going 9-for-11 from the stripe.
[Brandon on the Boards]: Brandon Ingram led the U.S. in rebounding with five boards. He also contributed a bucket and a trio of assists in the USA win. Ingram will turn 26 years old ton 9/2.
USA vs. Lithuania | Sept. 3, 2023 at 8:40 p.m. PHT / 8:40 a.m. ET | Manila, Philippines | ESPN2/ESPN+