Team USA opened the FIBA World Cup with an 88-67 win over the Czech Republic led by Kemba Walker and Jason Tatum of the Boston Celtics.
FIBA World Cup Starts of Well for Team USA
At this point, the members of Team USA know that winning this FIBA World Cup will not be easy. Most people on home soil seem to be waiting for this team to fail but they were able to get off to a good start in the tournament. Team USA opened their FIBA World Cup by beating the Czech Republic by a score of 88-67.
They were led by new Boston Celtic teammates Jason Tatum and Kemba Walker. Greg Popovich meanwhile seemed determine to keep fresh bodies on the floor at all times. He played a total of ten players in the first quarter alone and the strategy seemed to pay off. They held the Czech Republic to 35% shooting in the first half. If this team wants to win this edition of the FIBA World Cup, they will have to do it on the defensive end. In their shocking loss to Australia during their warmup matches, Team USA allowed the Aussies to score 98 points on their way to victory.
Kemba Up for the Challenge at FIBA World Cup
Kemba Walker is the clear leader of this team and it was good to see him respond to the challenge thrown his way by the Czech Republic. It was clear that their game plan early on was to attack Walker with Thomas Satoransky of the Chicago Bulls. As a member of the Washington Wizards, Satoransky did a very good job filling in for John Wall. That in part led the Bulls to sign him to a $30 million dollar contract this summer.
Although Kemba was giving up a ton of size to Satoransky, he did a good job defending him. Meanwhile at the other end of the court, Kemba seemed like he could get to any spot on the floor anytime he wanted to. Few players in the NBA can handle Walker off the dribble. The international game is different to the NBA but Walker is a seasoned veteran. It was nice to see him step up to the plate and lead this team to victory.
It’s Not All Walker and Tatum for Team USA
Although Tatum and Walker have been this team’s most consistent players leading up to the tournament, Donovan Mitchell is still the most explosive. He was able to get himself going in the second half and finished the game with 16 points. If he can find any type of offensive rhythm in this tournament, other teams won’t stand much of a chance against Team USA. Team USA will play Turkey on Tuesday in their next game.