The electrifying energy was palpable as Team USA emerged victorious, maintaining their unbeaten record in the pre-FIBA World Cup tour. Friday's game saw them outclass their age-old adversaries, Greece, with a resounding 108-86 win.
This landmark match held in the UAE offered both spectators and analysts much to dissect. However, the focal point of intrigue occurred even before the tip-off.
Kerr’s Vision: Speed and Strategy
Head Coach Steve Kerr, whose association with the Golden State Warriors over the past decade has shaped his coaching philosophy, has made his intent for Team USA clear.
He aims for agility over size, emphasizing speed and dexterity in his game plan. "It's so hard because you only have a couple weeks and then you jump right into the tournament," shared Kerr, underlining the significance of a consistent starting lineup.
The team’s dynamics are evolving, and in this limited prep-time before major tournaments, establishing a reliable pattern is invaluable. Anthony Edwards, the team’s silver bullet, delivered a riveting performance, putting up 21 points, including three shots from beyond the arc, in a mere 18 minutes.
Mikal Bridges, a name synonymous with efficiency in this tour, maintained his excellent form, netting 10 points with a commendable 60% shooting accuracy. Meanwhile, Jalen Brunson, Brandon Ingram, and Jaren Jackson Jr. fortified their positions with commendable ball handling, strategic body movements, and aggressive defense.
Based on their recent showings, it's likely we'll see them starting against New Zealand in the World Cup opener in Manila on August 26th.
Players Reflect on Team Spirit and Potential Pitfalls
"The whole coaching staff does a great job to make sure we know the [play].
You know, we really like each other too, so we don't mind sharing the ball and making the extra pass. So I think it's going pretty good," reflected Edwards on the team's camaraderie and synergy. However, the path to victory isn't without its challenges.
Kerr voiced concerns regarding turnovers and rebounds. "The concern is turnovers and rebounds. If we stay even on the possession game, I feel great about our chances against anybody," he commented. For Kerr, vigilance in these areas is the key to outplaying any opponent. The message to the team is clear: Guard the ball, keep sharp, and ensure no opponent gets an extra shot.