ANAHEIM, Calif. — The talent, depth and sheer firepower that has become the hallmark of the U.S. Men’s Senior National Team was on full display once again Friday, even without some of its most high-profile members in uniform.
Team USA had no problems exploiting their advantages over Spain, handling their first taste of international competition in the lead-up to the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China with a 90-81 exhibition victory at Honda Center.
Donovan Mitchell led all U.S. scorers with 13 points, and Kemba Walker added 11 points, six rebounds and eight assists.
It wasn’t a 30-point rout that has been the program’s norm in recent gold-medal efforts in World Cup and Olympic competitions. But it was a solid start to the Gregg Popovich era as the venerable San Antonio Spurs coach takes over after Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski led the program back to dominance.
It was the final domestic exhibition for the U.S. team, which had training camp stints in Las Vegas and Los Angeles in back-to-back weeks, before they depart for Australia today and ultimately on to China.
The roster stands at 14 and will need to be trimmed to 12 before the competition begins Aug. 30.
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Sekou Smith is a veteran NBA reporter and NBA TV analyst. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter.
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