Team USA made the most of its NBA talent to make a big statement.
Following their disappointing loss to Lithuania in their previous outing, Steve Kerr’s team came out firing right out of the gate en route to a 100-63 blowout of Italy in the FIBA Basketball World Cup.
They bounced back in a big way, partly thanks to Brooklyn Nets star Mikal Bridges, who hit the ground running with 14 first-half points.
Bridges finished the night with 24 points to lead all scorers.
Set the tone & responded in the right way.
— USA Basketball (@usabasketball) September 5, 2023
Following the game, he praised his teammates for picking up some big energy from the jump, setting the tone early, and chipping in to make sure this game didn’t get out of reach as it happened in their previous matchup.
With this win, Team USA has ensured its 15th top-four finish in 19 editions of the tournament.
They’ll have to wait to find out their rival, as Germany (5-0) and Latvia (4-1) still have to play for a spot in the semifinals.
Notably, they’ve already fared better than they did in the past edition of the World Cup in China.
They lost to France in the quarterfinal and had to come back home without a medal, falling to seventh place, which was the worst finish ever by an American team in any major men’s international event since the program existed.
Now, they can ensure a medal with a win on Friday in the semifinal, although they will obviously be aiming for the gold to try and silence the critics who doubted this young team’s ability to get the job done.NEXT: Skip Bayless Says LeBron James 'Chose' To Be Compared To Jordan