This week has been the opening to the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup, a basketball tournament in which the best 32 national teams compete for the title of world champion, opened this week. This year’s tournament is being held throughout China and will go until Sept. 15. With the United States ranked as the No. 1 seed and coming off of back-to-back FIBA World Cup winning streaks, they are favored to win it all. The team has won every game so far.
This week, the United States men’s basketball team faced off against the Czech Republic, Turkey and Japan in the first stage, followed by Greece in stage two. If the team wins stage two, they progress to the FIBA quarter-finals.
In stage one the United States had an easy first matchup against the Czech Republic. The young team worked well together and stayed ahead of the Czech Republic and made it clear that despite their rivalries, they could put aside their differences to work as a team. The first game concluded with a score of 88-67 with Donovan Mitchell leading the scoring at 16 points.
The next game against Turkey gave the United States a run for their money as the game went into overtime. The United States maintained the lead throughout the majority of the contest, but Turkey kept the game interesting right up to the final buzzer. In the last few minutes of the fourth quarter, Turkey closed in and took a slight lead. Luckily, Boston Celtics’ small forward Jayson Tatum made his free throws to push overtime. With so much on the line, both teams battled incredibly hard, with the United States eventually taking home the victory in overtime.
The United States men’s team finished out the first round against Japan. This game showed promising gameplay from team USA working as a solid unit and annihilating their opponents. Japan had a very difficult time scoring with small forward Yudai Baba scoring 18 of their 45 points. Jaylen Brown was the leading scorer for the United States with 20 points, who won 98-45.
The last game of the week was against team Greece, featuring an entertaining matchup with the Milwaukee Bucks point guard Giannis Antetokounmpo playing for Greece’s national team. Giannis’ teammates’ small forward Khris Middleton and center Brook Lopez faced off and allowed for an exciting competition for Bucks fans. In the end, the United States continued their undefeated run with a victory, 69-53.
Despite the team’s stellar performance so far, many are worried that they won’t make it to the championship game. The team is still young and has limited star players, which could potentially make their run at the final championship more difficult than previous years. Many of the best American players have refused to play due to fear of injury and other factors. This has incited controversy and has forced an inexperienced team to represent the United States in the championship. Despite this, the team has shown promising performances.
The next game will be played Monday, Sep. 9 at 8:30 p.m against Brazil. If they win this game, the United States will be moving on to the quarter finals.