Team USA basketball showcased its dominance at the 2023 FIBA World Cup as they secured a spot in the semifinals with a resounding victory over Italy. The American team, on Tuesday, outclassed Italy with a commanding score of 100-63 in Manila.
With this impressive win, Team USA has now set its sights on the tournament’s final four, where they will face either Germany or Latvia in the semifinals scheduled for Friday.
From the outset, Team USA took control of the game, establishing a 10-point lead by the end of the first quarter and maintaining their dominance throughout. Mikal Bridges led the scoring charge with an outstanding 24 points, shooting at an impressive 8 for 11 from the field. Tyrese Haliburton contributed significantly off the bench with 18 points, including six successful 3-pointers.
This remarkable victory was a perfect rebound for Team USA after a setback in their final second-round game against Lithuania on Sunday. The team has already guaranteed a better finish at this year’s World Cup compared to their seventh-place finish in 2019.
Let’s delve into three key takeaways from Team USA’s convincing win:
1. Team USA’s Versatility Shines:
While there was anticipation surrounding Anthony Edwards as Team USA’s primary scorer in the 2023 FIBA World Cup, the team’s performance has demonstrated that they don’t necessarily rely on a single “go-to guy.” Edwards, despite his earlier 35-point eruption, had a quieter game with just three points on Tuesday. The depth and versatility of Team USA’s roster allow them to distribute scoring responsibilities among capable players, as demonstrated by Mikal Bridges and Tyrese Haliburton’s stellar performances.
2. Seeking Consistency in the Center Position:
One of Team USA’s areas of concern is the lack of a consistent presence in the center position. This was evident in their loss to Lithuania and remains a notable weakness. While players like Jaren Jackson Jr., Paolo Banchero, and Bobby Portis have been contributing, bigger teams could exploit this gap. Improved consistency at the center will be crucial as the competition toughens.
3. Impact of Perimeter Shooting:
Team USA’s remarkable win against Italy was fueled by their proficiency in perimeter shooting. They connected on 17 of 36 attempted 3-pointers, applying immense pressure on Italy, which struggled with a mere 7 successful 3-pointers out of 38 attempts. Reliable perimeter shooting will be essential as Team USA faces teams like Latvia and Germany, known for their three-point prowess.
In conclusion, Team USA’s journey at the 2023 FIBA World Cup continues with determination and adaptability. Stay tuned for more updates as they progress towards the gold medal game.