Behind leading scorers Kemba Walker and Donovan Mitchell, team USA handled Greece with ease.
Giannis Antetokounmpo came out with a flurry of 7 points that included a pull-up three. He was matched by Donovan Mitchell who scored the first 5 points for Team USA. But Team USA was able to cool off Giannis who ended the game with only 15 points.
Whenever Antetokounmpo tried to get to the rim, team USA did a solid job of walling off the paint to keep Giannis away. Giannis would then pass off to shooters but Greece shot a dreadful 26% as a team from three and it was one of the major reasons Team USA was able to get the 16-point, 69-53 win.
Mitchell looked to involve teammates and had some very nice assists. He also just moved the ball well in general helping to find the open shooter.
Mitchell ended the game with 10 points, 3 assists and a team leading +21. Not a bad birthday performance for the 23-year-old from New York.
Kemba Walker led the team with 15 points. His consistent scoring has been valuable for the team that can always count on him to produce on the offensive end.
The other player that contributed to the win was Marcus Smart who played his trademark high-level defense from every position on the floor. Smart was a big part of guarding the perimeter but also showed the ability to guard Giannis in the post. It’s nothing new for Smart who has incredible strength for his size and regularly is able to switch on bigs and defend.
With Donovan Mitchell and Marcus Smart on the floor, Team USA has a potent defensive lineup and one that has been able to extend leads for the team. When Mitchell’s offense is rolling alongside Marcus Smart’s dynamic defense, Team USA really can dispatch any team in the tournament and should win gold.
Just watch the defensive effort from Marcus Smart on this play. Doesn't let Giannis get post position to start, fights to front to take away a catch (man did 4 spin moves) and still gets a contest on the shooter at the end of the possession. pic.twitter.com/gIHMfIakHS— Steve Jones Jr. (@stevejones20) September 7, 2019
Probably the strangest thing from the game was Giannis Antetokounmpo not playing in the 4th quarter. The league-MVP seemed easily schemable and that’s on the Greek coaches for not finding ways to use him. You’d think that having the NBA MVP would be something they’d want on the floor when looking for a comeback.
All in all it’s a nice win for Team USA who is now in the driver's seat to advance.