Team USA got off to a sluggish start before pulling away from New Zealand for a 99-72 victory in their opening game of the FIBA World Cup on Saturday in Manila, Philippines.
New Zealand led 14-4 in the first five minutes as the U.S. missed five shots and committed four turnovers in its first 11 possessions.
Paolo Banchero came off the bench and scored six points in an 8-0 run for the Americans. Banchero, who plays for the Orlando Magic, finished with a team-high 21 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the floor along with four rebounds and four blocks.
Anthony Edwards, one of the U.S. starters, contributed 14 points and a team-high seven rebounds. Jaren Jackson Jr. and Austin Reaves each had 12 points, and Jalen Brunson and Tyrese Haliburton also reached double figures with 10 points apiece.
Reaves, a reserve who plays for the Los Angeles Lakers, added six assists and three steals.
New Zealand was led by Reuben Te Rangi, who finished with 15 points.
Team USA head coach Steve Kerr said New Zealand’s fast start was a good experience for his team.
“One of the things that we’ve talked to our team about is how excited everybody else is going to be to play against us,” Kerr said. “New Zealand came out and hit us in the mouth and they were great — that’s good, it’s good for us to feel.”
Up next for U.S. in Group C play is Greece on Monday. Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo is not playing in the World Cup for Greece after having offseason knee surgery.
—Field Level Media
Original source here
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