2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup

Team USA knocks off Greece to remain unbeaten

U.S. clinches spot in quarterfinals, will next face Brazil on Monday

John Schuhmann

John Schuhmann

SHENZHEN, China — The United States Men’s National Team improved to 4-0 at the FIBA World Cup a 69-53 win over Greece on Saturday. It has yet to clinch a berth in the quarterfinals, but the only thing keeping it out would be a loss by at least 22 points to Brazil on Monday.

The U.S. took control with a 9-0 run early in the second quarter, led by 13 at the half, and by 17 after the third quarter. Greece started to put together some offense in the fourth, but could never get the lead to within single digits.

The U.S. shot just 36 percent from the field and 7-for-30 from 3-point range, but that was plenty good enough, because the Greece offense struggled even more, shooting just 32 percent from the field and just 7-for-27 from beyond the arc. With the loss, Greece needs a win by at least 12 points over the Czech Republic on Monday (along with a Brazil loss) to advance to the quarterfinals.

Greece isolated Giannis Antetokounmpo against Harrison Barnes on its first two possessions of the game and he scored five straight points, spinning past Barnes for a layup on the first and draining a pull-up 3 on the second. But the Americans showed the MVP a crowd, and his teammates were unable to convert on their resulting opportunities.

The U.S. also had a big advantage at the free-throw line, where it outscored Greece 14-4.

Antetokounmpo finished with 15 points (on 7-for-11 shooting) and 13 rebounds. The U.S. had just two players in double-figures: Kemba Walker and Donovan Mitchell with 15 and 10 points, respectively.

After missing his team’s win over Japan on Thursday with a quad strain, Marcus Smart returned to action and defended Antetokounmpo for much of his 17 minutes on the floor. Jayson Tatum missed his second straight game with a left ankle sprain.

The United States still may need to beat Brazil (3-1) on Monday to clinch first place in Group K. If Team USA reaches the quarterfinals, its potential opponents are Australia and France, who are both 4-0 in Group L. The U.S. now has a 57-game winning streak in (non-exhibition) games with a roster made up entirely of NBA players, going back to the bronze-medal game of the 2006 World Championship.

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John Schuhmann is a senior stats analyst for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter.

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