Turner, Sabonis Open World Cup with Wins
USA Handles Czech Republic, Lithuania Blows Out Senegal
Both members of the Pacers' starting frontcourt started the 2019 FIBA World Cup on a good note, as Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis helped their respective countries to comfortable victories in their opening games of the 32-team international championship.
Turner started at center for the United States in an 88-67 win over the Czech Republic, tallying four points, seven rebounds, two blocks, and one steal.
Sabonis helped lead Lithuania's 101-47 romp of Senegal, racking up 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting, seven boards, three assists, one block, and one steal.
As expected, Turner was a member of USA Basketball head coach Gregg Popovich's starting five on Sunday in Shanghai, starting alongside Kemba Walker, Donovan Mitchell, Jayson Tatum, and Harrison Barnes. The 23-year-old missed three shots in the opening frame but still made his presence felt on the other end, blocking two shots and collecting three defensive rebounds in his opening shift.
Turner collected his first points of the tournament on a layup with 7:47 left in the second quarter. He drove for another layup at the 6:05 mark in the third quarter for his final points of the night.
PHOTO GALLERY: Myles Turner at 2019 FIBA World Cup »
The United States was never seriously threatened down the stretch, taking an 18-point lead into the fourth quarter and cruising to a 21-point victory. Mitchell led the Americans with 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting. Barnes added 14 points, while Walker chipped in 13 points and four assists.
Chicago Bulls guard Tomas Satoransky led the Czech Republic with 17 points on 7-of-13 shooting and five assists.
Meanwhile in Dongguan, Sabonis and the Lithuanians collected their largest ever win in a World Cup game, dominating Senegal by 54 points. They outscored Senegal by 34 points just in the 20:57 that Sabonis was on the floor.
PHOTO GALLERY: Domantas Sabonis at 2019 FIBA World Cup »
Lithuania opened the game with a 13-2 run and never really looked back. Sabonis put the exclamation mark on the victory with a driving dunk in the fourth quarter:
— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) September 1, 2019
Grizzlies center Jonas Valanciunas tallied 13 points and 11 rebounds for Lithuania in the victory. On the other end, they held Senegal to 28.6 percent shooting. Not a single Senegalese player reached double figures.
Both the United States and Lithuania play again on Tuesday. Sabonis and Lithuania play Canada at 7:30 AM ET, while Turner and Team USA take on Turkey at 8:30 AM ET.