No. 5 and No. 6, Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson, will suit up for Team USA Sunday night, Manila time — Sunday morning, New York time — their first games in red, white and blue and the beginning of their quest to win the gold in the FIBA World Cup.
Bridges is expected to start for the Americans and Johnson is likely to be the first or second player off the bench. In the five exhibition games, all USA wins, Bridges averaged 10.3 points and Johnson 9.0. The team is led by the Timberwolves’ Anthony Edwards who had 34 in the Americans’ win over Germany, a big comeback win that preserved their perfect record. Bridges hit the go-ahead bucket in the comeback.
New Zealand, whose high water mark in international ball took place in 2002 when Sean Marks helped lead them to fourth place in the 2002 World Cup, has dropped to No. 28 in world rankings in 2023. Team USA is No. 1 after they beat Spain last weekend in Malaga, Spain. As a result, the US is a 35-point favorite.
Corey Webster, 34, is the Kiwis best player, a 6’2” shooting guard who plays for the Perth Wildcats in Australia’s National Basketball League and has played for NZ’s national team since 2008. Webster went undrafted in 2015, was signed by the Pelicans but was waived before he could play in the NBA.
Pero Cameron, who starred with Marks on the Kiwis’ 2002 national team, is head coach.
Live stats should be available here.
WHO: Team USA vs. New Zealand.
WHEN: 8:30 a.m. ET
WHERE: ESPN2 or Courtside 1891, FIBA’s official streaming service.