Team USA remains undefeated in the 2019 FIBA World Cup with an 89-73 victory over Brazil in Shenzhen, China, on September 9th. With the win, Team USA (5-0) earned the top seed in the quarterfinals, which theoretically gives them an easier road to the championship. The red, white and blue also clinched a berth in the 2020 Olympics as a result of the win.
And with Brazil falling short of the quarterfinals, Argentina & USA have qualified for next year’s Olympics in Tokyo.
— John Schuhmann (@johnschuhmann) September 9, 2019
Brazil’s Marcelinho Huerto opened up the scoring by sinking a floater 18 seconds into the contest. But the early going was mainly characterized by sloppy play as neither team was able to find any sort of a rhythm. Team USA held a 14-7 lead midway through the first quarter, thanks in large part to the Indiana Pacers‘ Myles Turner. Turner, who turned in his best performance of the event, was very active on both ends of the floor during a crucial three-minute stretch where the Americans outscored Brazil 11-4. The 6-foot-11 center scored six points, grabbed two defensive rebounds, and came away with a steal during the stretch.
Brazil was able to get back into the game as Team USA made just three of its final nine shots of the stanza, including missing all three of its three-point attempts. Still, the U.S. led 21-18 after 10 minutes of play.
The Americans pushed their lead to 28-23 early in the second quarter as Boston Celtics star Kemba Walker sank a technical foul free throw, which was Brazil head coach Aleksandar Petrovic’s second technical of the game. Then Turner converted a layup off from a feed from Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell.
From there, the game went back and forth. After Brazil tied the game at 33, the U.S. strung together an 8-0 run to go up 41-33. However, Brazil’s Vitor Benite tallied seven of his 15 second-quarter points over the final 55 seconds of the half to help the team come back to a score of 43-39.
Team USA Takes Control of the Game
Just like the opening quarter, both teams struggled shooting the ball after halftime. The offense started to pick up things around the seven-minute mark of the frame. Turner once again came up big during a three-minute stretch that saw the U.S.’s lead increase to 56-48. Turner finished the period with six points — tying Milwaukee Bucks‘ Khris Middleton for the most points in the frame – along with three boards as well as a steal. The Celtics’ guard Marcus Smart knocked down an off-balance three-pointer from the right-wing right before the third-quarter buzzer to push the lead to double-digits (67-56).
The U.S. used a 6-0 run to extend its lead to 73-58 with 8:33 left in the game. A three-pointer by Walker two-and-a-half minutes later gave the Americans their biggest lead of the day at 83-62. Brazil would get no closer than 13 points the rest of the way.
Team USA shot 52% (36-for-69) from the field overall with 21 of the field goals being assisted upon. Meanwhile, the Americans were once again staunch defensively, holding Brazil to 42% shooting from the field. The USA also won the rebound battle (39-36) and forced 15 turnovers which they turned into 19 points with 16 coming on the fastbreak. Brazil (3-2) finished in 13th place.
Player of the Game: Turner
Turner and Walker led the way for Team USA with 16 points. But Turner was dominant during key parts of the game and earned a game-high efficiency rating of 23. He was 8-for-11 from the field and grabbed eight rebounds in just 21 minutes of action. It was his second double-figure scoring effort of the event, although Turner has done a fantastic job on the board throughout the tournament.
Walker’s new teammate Jaylen Brown and Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes chipped in with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Mitchell doled out seven dimes while Walker was credited with five assists.
Boston’s Jayson Tatum sat out his third consecutive game due to a sprained ankle.
The USA will meet France (4-1) in a quarterfinal contest in Dongguan, China, on September 11th at 7 a.m (ET). The winner of that game will face the winner of Serbia (4-1)-Argentina (4-1) quarterfinal in the semifinals on Sept. 13.
Spain (5-0) faces Poland (4-1), and Australia (5-0) takes on the Czech Republic (3-2) in the other quarterfinal matchups.
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