Sat. Apr 13th, 2024
Anthony Edwards USA

United States’ Anthony Edwards dunks against Puerto Rico during the first half of an exhibition basketball game Monday, Aug. 7, 2023, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

MALAGA, Spain — Anthony Edwards led a balanced effort with 15 points, Jalen Brunson added 11 points and eight assists, and the U.S. World Cup team beat Slovenia 92-62 on Saturday in an exhibition game.

Austin Reaves and Tyrese Haliburton each scored 10 for the Americans, who improved to 2-0 on their five-game slate of exhibitions before getting to the Philippines for the World Cup. It opened exhibition play Monday with a 117-74 win over Puerto Rico in Las Vegas.

All-NBA guard Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks was held out of Saturday’s game as a precaution. He scored 17 points in Slovenia’s 99-79 loss to Spain on Friday and missed some of that game after a bit of an awkward landing on a drive.

All 12 US players scored, and five finished with between seven and nine points. Mikal Bridges scored nine, Cam Johnson, Paolo Banchero and Bobby Portis each had eight, and Brandon Ingram had seven for the winners.

The US plays Spain — a matchup of the world’s two top-ranked nations according to FIBA, which has Spain atop that list — in another exhibition on Sunday.

“One more stage of our preparation against the strongest rival in the world,” Spain coach Sergio Scariolo said.

Tyrese Haliburton USA

Tyrese Haliburton #4 and Jalen Brunson #11 of the United States walk on the court during a break in the second half of a 2023 FIBA World Cup exhibition game against Puerto Rico at T-Mobile Arena on August 07, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The United States defeated Puerto Rico 117-74. Ethan Miller/Getty Images/AFP

After Sunday, the US team flies to the United Arab Emirates for games in Abu Dhabi against Greece (Aug. 18) and Germany (Aug. 20).

From there, it’s on to Manila. The World Cup will be held in the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia; the U.S. will be in Manila for the entirety of the tournament, and opens against New Zealand on Aug. 26, followed by Greece on Aug. 28 and Jordan on Aug. 30.

TIP-INS

Slovenia: Even with Doncic out, Slovenia had eight players from its team that finished fourth at the Tokyo Olympics two summers ago — Aleksej Nikolic, Klemen Prepelic, former Virginia center Mike Tobey, Jaka Blazic, Gregor Hrovat, Ziga Dimec, Zoran Dragic and Jakob Cebasek. … The team was planning to have Denver Nuggets forward Vlatko Cancar, but he suffered a knee injury earlier this month and will miss significant time.

USA: Josh Hart made his USA Basketball debut. He missed Monday’s game while finishing his four-year extension with the New York Knicks. … With US assistant coach Erik Spoelstra of Miami out this weekend because he’s attending the Basketball Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony — Heat great Dwyane Wade was part of the class — Jeff Van Gundy helped out on coach Steve Kerr’s staff alongside assistants Tyronn Lue and Mark Few.

SAME FIVE

The starters for the U.S. were the same for the second consecutive game: Brunson, Edwards, Mikal Bridges, Brandon Ingram and Jaren Jackson Jr.

BACK TO BACK

If all goes right, this weekend could be the only instance of back-to-back games for the U.S. on its World Cup trip. Next week’s games in Abu Dhabi are separated by an off day, and no group stage games at the World Cup are back-to-backs. The quarterfinals, semifinals and medal games all are preceded by off days as well.

UP NEXT

Slovenia: Play at Japan on Aug. 19.

USA: Play Spain in Malaga on Sunday.

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