Lineup changes, fast start lead to Team USA’s dominant win over Jordan

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - AUGUST 30: Josh Hart #12 of the United States goes for the ball against Ahmed Dwayri #44 of Jordan during the FIBA ​​Basketball World Cup Group C game between the United States and Jordan at the Mall of Asia Arena on August 30, 2023 in Pasay competes  Metro Manila, Philippines.  (Photo by Ezra Akayan/Getty Images)
Josh Hart Team USA’s Ahmed Dwayri of Jordan fights for a rebound during the FIBA ​​World Cup Group C game at the Mall of Asia Arena on August 30, 2023 in Manila, Philippines. (Photo by Ezra Akayan/Getty Images)

MANILA, Philippines – The most notable detail of Team USA’s 110-62 victory over Jordan on Wednesday was how the Americans started, as the crowd of 10,511 at the Mall of Asia Arena all knew how the match would end. After using the same five-man lineup for each of the first two games during this opening round of the FIBA ​​World Cup, dating back to Team USA’s second varsity match in Las Vegas, head coach Steve Kerr made a change, bringing in Josh Hart. entered forward. In front of the field next to the center Jaren Jackson Jr Instead of swingman Brandon Ingram.

“The difficult part of FIBA ​​is you only have a few weeks to decide your team, unlike the NBA season where we have six, seven, eight months,” Kerr said. We just felt it was important to take a look at Josh with the main group and Brandon in the next group and see if the combinations fit.

Kerr confirmed the result, though not against the competition’s biggest benchmark. He won’t commit to a staff decision until after the tournament, but with Hart joining a pair of Villanova teammates on the roster — Knicks Ball holder Jalen Bransonand Nets forward Mikal bridges – The synergy between the three former Wildcats was evident. They combined for several sequences with ping two passes among the three to get open looks from deep.

“You don’t miss it,” Bridges said. “Playing with JB all those years and also Josh, it’s second nature. All the practices and games we had in Nova seem very natural.

Maybe it was the changeup, or the fact that Jordan entered the game 0-2 in World Cup play, but the contest gave the Americans their first dominant opening stretch of the tournament. Team USA led 20-4 and no Jordan outside of first-round pick Ronde Hollis-Jefferson scored until just 3:33 remained in the opening frame.

“Teams have been coming out and throwing the first punch, but I think we threw the first punch today,” Bridges said.

For all the pre-game festivities and in-arena spectacle, there was a remarkable calmness among the crowd for the many twists and turns. Jordan’s offensive possessions went close after the down, except when Hollis-Jefferson touched the ball and the crowd chanted “Kobe.” Knock!” In recognition of the Chester, Pennsylvania native’s resemblance to the great Kobe Bryant. For a contest often compared to the NCAA Tournament among NBA personnel on the court in Manila, this matchup had the feel of a No. 1 championship against a bare-knuckle 16 hope.

Anthony Edwards wobbled down the field on a vicious windmill dunk with 5:42 left in the third quarter to extend the lead to 75-39. particle for direct object TimberwolvesThe All-Star scorer was on a roll, scoring 13 first quarter points en route to a game-high 22 points. Jam after a bridge crossing.

This is not something that will change for me. “I was aggressive like I was last game,” Edwards said. Just staying aggressive and confident is what I do every game. It paid off today.”

Kerr came off the bench with 3:24 left to play in the third and the 12th man was used sparingly. Walker Kessler It was too early to act. After the end of the quarter, the Americans led by 87-49 and there were 10 minutes left until the end of the game. And with their latest tally just north of the century, Team USA posted back-to-back 100-point World Cup games for the first time since 2006. The Americans also went 60-2 in World Cup qualifying. -The away games, unbeaten since 1998 against Lithuania, which the USA will draw in the second round of Group J, along with Montenegro.

Ingram looked much more comfortable playing among the reserves. Its speed is noticeably faster Tyrese Halliburton The effort to create contrasts with Branson’s more methodical exploration of mutation. And two plays in, it was Ingram who drove left and found Halliburton alone in the right corner for an open triple.

Ingram told Yahoo Sports that Kerr informed him of the lineup change on Wednesday morning.

“They thought it would be a better fit for me to play with Tyreese and play with a couple of guys who are a little less ball-handling than Jalen and Ant,” Ingram said. “They just talked about it being more appropriate, and I agreed with them.”

Ingram hasn’t come off the bench for a live game since his rookie season Los Angeles Lakers. While watching the opening minutes of the match from the sidelines, he paid attention to keeping his legs warm and stretching more. “I was able to prepare for it,” Ingram said. “It was just a different combination and I was excited about the opportunity.”

However, the lack of competition may be something Team USA needs to watch out for. From NBA centers Jonas Valanciunas and Nikola Vučević, respectively, to several other veterans with NBA experience, Lithuania and Montenegro offer a much stronger lineup than the Americans have seen in the Philippines.

Looking further into the knockout phase of the tournament, whoever Team USA could face from the opposite side of the World Cup, such as top-seeded Canada, would have to go through a strong second-round pool that also includes Slovenia, Germany . Australia and Spain, who all participated in these competitions The top seven of the World Cup power rankings.

At the moment, Americans don’t seem to be worried.

“No matter what, we’ll be ready,” Bridges said. “It doesn’t matter who we’ve played before. We’ll be ready.”

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