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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

USA bamboozles Italy to seal semifinal slot

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A cohesive, dominant USA Team finally showed up on Wednesday night (Aug. 5), tearing apart hapless Italy 100-63, to book a seminal berth in the FIBA World Cup.

Leaving its woeful shooting and poor defense behind in an earlier loss to Lithuania, Team USA showed up with well-oiled ammunition, led by Mikal Bridges, who torched the Italians with a game-high 24 points on a magnificent 8 of 11 field goals, four of them from beyond the arc.

Bridges, who also had 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, and 1 shot block, actually set the tone for the Americans’ first-half revelry, where he made two of his three attempts from the three-point area for a 14-point production.“It feels good. We learned from our past mistakes as we played too much pressure. We just got to play hoop,” said Bridges of the Brooklyn Nets.

The Americans whoop it up. FIBA

USA will take on the winner between Germany and Latvia which will battle for a semifinal slot on Wednesday (Sept. 5). The other semifinal pairing will have Serbia, an 87-68 victor over Lithuania earlier, against the winner of the Canada-Slovenia tussle, also on Wednesday.

All in all, Team USA converted 17 of 36 triple attempts compared to the Italians, who had 7-of-37 from the treys and controlled the boards, 51-34.

The Americans began the game the way they wanted—in the driver’s seat–after previous games of lethargic start, taking the first quarter, 24-14, after a Paolo Banchero basket off a drop pass by Haliburton.

After five games against the European style of play, the Americans have developed some sort of chemistry this time showing off with better teamwork and control of the rebounding department.

That was the story in the first half as the US led in assists, 10-5, and dominated the rebound, 28-20, and shooting better from the triple area.

The Americans posted a 24-point bulge, 46-22, highlighted by Austin Reaves’ follow-up slam off Bridges’ miss from trey just before Achille Polunara’s twin charities pegged the halftime score at 24-46.

They were not done yet as the Americans kept the fire burning, ending the third quarter with 29 markers, 44-83, capped by a highlight alley-hoop play by Banchero off Haliburton’s assist after a steal on Gabriele Procida.

Tyrese Haliburton gave the USA its biggest lead of 41 points, 51-92 at 5:58 with his 6th triple to finish with 18 markers, all coming from the triple zone.



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