Team USA had another workmanlike win Wednesday night (Wednesday morning in New York), beating the Jordanian national team, 110-62, in Manila. The Americans finished group play with a 3-0 record and will now advance to the second round, playing Montenegro with Nikola Vucevic on Friday night, Philippines time.
Mikal Bridges played 18 minutes and scored nine points on 3-of-7 shooting overall, 1-of-3 from deep while Cam Johnson had a tougher road, scoring five points on 1-of-5 shooting in 12 minutes. Bridges also recorded three rebounds and three steals. Johnson had three assists and a steal.
Bridges also got the assignment of keeping Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, the former Net, in check. RHJ, one of the breakout stars in Cup play, was averaging 31.5 points a game in two previous games. He finished with 20 in 36 minutes, shooting only 6-of-16 for the Jordanians.
Post-game, Bridges who’s known RHJ since the two were high school ballers in the Philadelphia area remarked on how fans have suggested a physical resemblance between him and Kobe Bryant, even chanting “Ko-be, Ko-be” when he got to the line.
“Yeah he’s got the physique … all the gear and stuff, he moves silky and all of that, and he’s athletic,” said Bridges who celebrated his 27th birthday on Wednesday.
Bridges credited the team’s energy for its continuing success...
Johnson, who’s had a couple of less effective games lately, spoke with BallinEurope about the differences between the NBA and FIBA play and how he has to adjust.
In that same vein, Steve Kerr shuffled the starting lineup before the game, inserting the Knicks’ Josh Hart and benching the Pelicans’ Brandon Ingram who has struggled in international play. Hart finished with only two points, but had 12 boards, his second straight double-digit rebounding game.
“We just wanted to look at some different lineups,” Kerr said. “The tricky part with FIBA is that you only have a few weeks to figure out your team, as opposed to an NBA season where you have six, seven, eight months. We just felt like it was important to take a look at Josh with the starting group and Brandon with the next group and see if the combinations fit.
“I liked what I saw. I mean, obviously, the game wasn’t competitive, but there was good flow with both groups. So we’ll see. We haven’t made any decisions going forward.”
In his new role as more of a playmaker, Ingram immediately looked more comfortable as Brian Windhorst noted, having his best game in Manila, racking up five assists with seven points in 15 minutes.
Anthony Edwards once again led Team USA with 22. Bobby Portis had 13, Jaren Jackson Jr. 12 and Jalen Brunson added 10. The Americans led by 19 after one quarter and by 29 at the half. Only one other Jordanian scored in double figures.
“Staying aggressive, staying confident, it’s just something that I do,” Edwards said post-game. “It paid off today.”
“I think we’re gonna win,” Edwards added when asked about the Americans’ prospect for gold. When a reporter noted that Lithuania which the US will play Sunday is also 3-0, Edwards responded. “We’re unbeaten also. So yeah, I think we got a great chance to win. We’ve got a great coaching staff, we’ve got great players. Our confidence is at an all-time high. We’re not really worried about those guys.”
“We know the competition is about to get tougher,” Kerr said in response.
Although the US has dominated, as expected, they do not have the biggest cumulative margin of victory so far. That accolade belongs to Team Canada.
- Box Score: Team USA 110, Jordan 82 - FIBA
- Game Highlights: Team USA 110, Jordan 82 (Video) - FIBA
- Highlights: Anthony Edwards 22 points (Video) - FIBA
- USA rolls past Jordan 110-62. Now Round 2 of Basketball World Cup awaits - Tim Reynolds - AP
- Anthony Edwards: USA ‘not really worried’ about next FIBA World Cup foes after routing Jordan - Joe Vardon - The Athletic
- Team USA crushes Jordan to sweep through World Cup group - Brian Windhorst - ESPN
- 5 takeaways from USA’s win over Jordan in World Cup - Brian Martin - NBA