USA Basketball demonstrated their grit and determination by staging an impressive comeback against Germany in their final exhibition game, securing a perfect 5-0 record in their tune-up series before heading to the FIBA World Cup in the Philippines. Anthony Edwards led the charge with a remarkable performance, scoring 34 points and solidifying his role as the team’s standout player.
The Americans found themselves facing a 16-point deficit in the second half against a resilient German squad that had been performing well in pre-World Cup play. The game seemed to be slipping away from the U.S., but a remarkable 18-0 run in the final minutes turned the tide in their favor and demonstrated their tenacity on the court.
U.S. coach Steve Kerr was impressed by the team’s ability to dig deep in the face of adversity. “What I like is that we know now they’ve got guts,” Kerr stated. “But we can get a lot better because we have a higher ceiling than a lot of teams… We feel like we’ve got more room for growth. And we’ve got to keep working and getting better as we head to Manila.”
Edwards was undoubtedly the star of the game, sinking 11 of 21 shots and going 8 for 8 from the free-throw line. His standout performance earned him praise from both his coach and teammates. “He’s unquestionably the guy,” Kerr affirmed. “He knows it. Now the rest of the team knows it.”
However, the victory was a collective effort, with Tyrese Haliburton playing a pivotal role in sparking the comeback. In less than three minutes, Haliburton scored 11 points, narrowing the deficit to just three points and reigniting hope for the U.S. team. Austin Reaves also made significant contributions off the bench, scoring 16 points and displaying the team’s resilience.
Despite Germany’s impressive efforts, they were unable to maintain their lead as Team USA’s defense intensified. The German squad experienced a scoring drought of six minutes in the fourth quarter, allowing the Americans to capitalize on an 18-0 run and secure the victory.
As the team prepares for the World Cup, their perfect exhibition record serves as a testament to their chemistry and determination. The Americans have had only 2 ½ weeks of training together, but they have managed to gel effectively on the court. The exhibition series included dominant victories over Puerto Rico, Slovenia, Spain, and Greece, showcasing their versatility and potential to compete at the highest level.
Team USA’s upcoming challenge lies in the FIBA World Cup, where they are heavy favorites to win the tournament. Their group stage games against New Zealand, Greece, and Jordan are set to begin on August 26 in Manila. The Americans’ previous seventh-place finish in the 2019 World Cup has intensified the pressure on them to secure the gold medal this time around.
The exhibition victory against Germany has not only solidified Team USA’s standing as a contender but has also showcased their ability to overcome adversity and work together as a cohesive unit. As they embark on their World Cup journey, the team’s confidence remains high, and their determination to succeed is palpable. Coach Kerr’s observation that “the group has a connection… they play well together and they fight” underscores the sense of camaraderie that will drive Team USA’s pursuit of World Cup glory.