Anthony Edwards and Austin Reaves Receive Praise for Bringing the USA Back Against Montenegro.
On Friday, the United States overcame a sluggish start to defeat Montenegro 85-73 and keep their perfect record in the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
A 12-6 rally by Montenegro to end the first half gave them a one-point lead at the break.
After the first quarter, head coach Boko Radovi observed his team utilizing their size advantage to gain a plus-11 rebounding advantage. In the game, Montenegro had 23 offensive rebounds, equal to the number of defensive rebounds the United States had.
Anthony Edwards, who has been the best player for America in the tournament, was held without a point on five field goal attempts in the first half, which didn't help. However, the star of the Minnesota Timberwolves led the charge in the second half with 17 points on 7 of 11 shooting.
The American public was glad to praise Edwards for leading his team to victory in a hard-fought match.
Late in the fourth quarter, Austin Reaves hit a crucial three-pointer to increase Team USA's advantage to 75-68. Because he converted 9 out of 11 free throw tries, he ended the game with 12 points on just two field goal attempts.
Following yet another impressive FIBA World Cup performance, Reaves's anticipation is only increasing.
Off the bench, Tyrese Haliburton and Paolo Banchero contributed in their own ways. In 24 minutes, Haliburton finished with 10 points and a game-high six assists. With eight points on 3-of-5 shooting, Banchero contributed.
Nikola Vuevi's 18 points and 16 rebounds (seven of which were offensive) caused the US a lot of trouble. In 26 minutes, Dino Radoni had 10 rebounds.
While it's encouraging that Team USA was able to win, it was a battle because this was the tournament's most difficult test. The Americans had 12 turnovers and converted only one of nine three-point shots in the first half of the game. Overall, they made 26.3 percent of their attempts from beyond the arc.
The fact that the Americans were able to overcome their sloppiness by focusing on defense is encouraging. It earned 14 steals and ultimately resulted in 22 turnovers from Montenegro.
Coach Steve Kerr's defense had a strong performance on a night when the offense struggled.
On Sunday at 8:30 a.m. ET, Team USA will play its final match in the second round versus Lithuania. At 4:25 a.m. ET on Sunday, Greece (2-2) will take on Montenegro.