Team USA had its first true test of the FIBA World Cup in their opening game of the second round against Montenegro. It was a close affair that ultimately resulted in a Team USA 85-73 victory, and head coach Steve Kerr is grateful that his squad had to face a little bit of adversity, reports ESPN's Brian Windhorst.
“I think you definitely get better with a game like this rather than with a 40 point victory. Because you have to feel it, you have to go through an experience where it's a tight game and every possession matters and that's where you improve. I love the way our guys finished the game.”
Steve Kerr highlights that although it was a tougher game, the challenge against Montenegro will pay dividends in the growth of Team USA and their ability to perform in tight games. He ended his sentiments by praising how his team ended the game, which makes sense given the much stronger second half in contrast with the first.
Anthony Edwards was the main victim of the slow start, as he went into halftime with 0 points. Nevertheless, he came out firing in the second half, putting on display why Kerr labeled him as ‘the guy' for Team USA. Edwards finished the game with 17 points, the high scorer alongside Austin Reaves with 12 points and Jaren Jackson Jr with 11.
Team USA will continue their second round play of the FIBA World Cup on Sunday, facing a Lithuania team that is also undefeated up to this point. The game against Montenegro was great preparation for their biggest challenge of the tournament yet.