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Team USA, Australia, France, look to complete first round unblemished

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Jazz men in action for final day of FIBA first round

Australia v Senegal: Group H - FIBA World Cup 2019 Photo by Zhizhao Wu/Getty Images

The first round of the FIBA World Cup is nearly complete. With just one more day of action remaining, there is still plenty on the line for all teams involved. Games played tomorrow, 9/5, will be the final games of the first round, aka the first “group phase”. The top two teams from each of the groups will advance to the second round, which is another group phase. The top two teams from each second-ground group, will then advance to the knockout bracket. Here’s the thing to remember: the first round results carry over to the second round. So even though Team USA has already secured their place as the top team in their current group, tomorrow’s game is still very crucial to help them advance through the second round. Same goes for Australia and France. Wins for these squads would set them up nicely to be able to advance through to the knockout phase, as long as they can take care of business in the next round. It’s a unique format, but actually makes a lot of sense, and rewards teams for playing a consistent and complete tournament. If what I just wrote didn’t make any sense at all, FIBA explains it pretty clearly here.

Game Info: Team USA

When: Thursday, September 5th, 2019. 6:30 AM MDT

Where: Shanghai, China

TV: Livestream on ESPN+

Who: Japan

Game Info: France

When: Thursday, September 5th, 2019. 6:30 AM MDT

Where: Shanghai, China

TV: Livestream on ESPN+

Who: Dominican Republic

Game Info: Australia

When: Thursday, September 5th, 2019. 5:30 AM MDT

Where: Dongguan, China

TV: Livestream on ESPN+

Who: Lithuania

What to watch for

Team USA:

Donovan Mitchell probably had his worst showing as a member of Team USA last game vs. Turkey. Although he came through with a critical play to stay alive and force overtime, Mitchell went the entire game without converting a two-point field goal. He did make three from three-point range, but Mitchell really struggled to get a good look at the rim from anywhere besides the three-point line. Expect this to change. If you’ve paid attention to Donovan Mitchell over the past two seasons, you know he’s a responder. He loves to come back from bad games with great ones. He learns from his mistakes. He grows with each game. I think Mitchell comes out with a little bit of fire in his belly and unfortunately Japan will be the ones that have to pay. I’m calling it now, 20+ points for Spida in Shanghai tomorrow morning.

France:

Rudy Gobert is pretty much used to this by now, but he’s been a dominant force in both games so far this World Cup. They take on Dominican Republic, who have had two incredible games and won both in dramatic fashion. I’ll be watching to see if Rudy keeps bullying in the paint and if France can keep up this very impressive play.

Australia:

Joe Ingles nearly dropped the first triple-double in FIBA World Cup history earlier this week, missing out by just one assist. Can Ingles make up for this narrow miss and make history this next game?

Mandatory Highlight

Game Thread Ground Rules

Welcome to the SLC Dunk Game Thread.

Dunkers know how this thing works, but for you lurkers ready to make the jump to Dunker, we have a few guidelines. Remember to follow our community guidelines (no swearing, trolling, excessive use of Jerry Sloan’s name in vain, no personal attacks, no debates about Utah liquor laws, etc.). Remember to have fun. Anyone who dare blasphemes that Tim Duncan was a Power Forward (this means you, Pounding the Rock), Ben Simmons can hit threes, Gordon Haywardshould not be booed, Exum Island isn’t a 5-Star resort, Donovan Mitchell is Monta Ellis 2.0, men should never cry or John Stockton is not the best point guard of all-time will receive an automatic ban. Just kidding. But seriously.