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Utah Jazz players cap off perfect first round in FIBA World Cup

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USA, Australia, and France dominate first round

Dominican Rep v France: Group G - FIBA World Cup 2019 Photo by Zhong Zhi/Getty Images

The Utah Jazz have been well-represented so far in the FIBA World Cup. Team USA, France, and Australia (represented by Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, and Joe Ingles respectively), capped off a perfect first round earlier this morning as they each came out victorious in their respective matches. Each finished a perfect 3-0 in the first round, and advance to the second-round group phase that will start on Friday (US/FRA/AUS all play Saturday). Here’s how the games went down this morning.

Australia vs. Lithuania

In a critical game that decided the top seed from Group H, Australia battled one out with Lithuania in a game that came down to the final minute. Joe Ingles, who had been absolutely balling in the first two games, had a different impact on this game than he had been prior. Ingles only scored 2 points on 0/5 shooting, but was ever-important as usual with his game-high 8 assists. He was a big reason why Aron Baynes went off for 21 points, as several of his buckets were assisted by Joe Ingles.

Lithuania started off the fourth quarter down 8, but an 11-0 run gave them the lead with just over 7 minutes remaining in the game. It was a close battle until the final minute, when Australia’s Patty Mills drilled a clutch three that was the dagger in Lithuania’s chest.

Australia would pull it out, and secured first place in Group H. They will face Dominican Republic in round two on Saturday at 2:00 AM MDT.

USA vs. Japan

If you’ve been waiting for Team USA to blow a game open and win by 50, this game was just for you. The Americans opened up the game on a 13-0 run, and that was as close as Japan ever came the entire match. Donovan Mitchell finished the game with 10 points on 4-8 shooting, along with 6 assists, 3 rebounds and 1 steal. Mitchell also finished the game a plus-51 (!!!!!) in the box score plus-minus.

Team USA finished first in Group E, and will face Greece on Saturday at 6:30 AM MDT in what should be a very much matchup against the Greek Freak himself, Giannis Antetokounmpo.

France vs. Dominican Republic

France and Dominican Republic battled for first place in Group G this morning, with France coming out on top. Rudy Gobert finished with 13 points, 8 rebounds, and 1 block, and helped his national squad secure a top seed in the second round. France will take on Lithuania on Saturday at 6:00 AM MDT.

Jazz fans should be proud of the way their players have played so far in FIBA World Cup, helping their countries to a combined 9-0 record. They have shined bright individually as well, each posting impressive performances when their teams needed them. It’s going to be pretty awesome to see these guys keep battling their way through the tournament, and eventually going to war against each other deeper in the tournament.