FIBA World Cup 2019: USA respond with dominant victory over Japan

By Sports Desk September 05, 2019

The United States were back on form as they responded to a narrow overtime win against Turkey by securing a 98-45 victory over Japan in Group E at the FIBA World Cup.

Team USA had complete control of the game from start to finish and the margin of victory was something they desperately needed after a dramatic finish against Turkey.

While Kemba Walker played consistently well, scoring 15 points with eight assists, Jaylen Brown emerged as a breakout star by adding 20 points with seven rebounds.

Gregg Popovich's side should face a tougher challenge when they take on Greece and reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo in their first second-round match on Saturday.

USA started fast and did not look back. They scored the first 13 points of the game and held Japan scoreless until the middle of the first quarter.

Boston Celtics duo Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart were sidelined due to injuries, but USA responded by sharing the ball.

All 10 players scored for Popovich's team, with Brown leading the way followed by Walker and Harrison Barnes, who had 14 points with eight rebounds.

Rui Hachimura, selected ninth overall in the 2019 NBA Draft by the Washington Wizards, did not live up to expectations for Japan as he scored four points on two-of-eight shooting. Yudai Baba (18) was the only player in double figures for Julio Lamas' men.

However, Hachimura had a few highlight moments where he stole the show, including a dunk over Myles Turner in the third quarter.

Japan scored just eight points in that period and although they matched USA's tally in the final quarter, an upset was already well out of reach.

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    "That's definitely been a focus," he said. "I was looking at the fixture list and certainly the home warm-up games [wins over Italy and Wales] and the timing of them.

    "I know, commercially, it makes sense to have games later on, afternoon, early evening, 5.30, 7pm. But the home games have been fixed for two o'clock to try to acclimatise to Japan as much as possible.

    "It's those small little details which help you in trying to get your body right for the shock. The only thing they won't be able to plan in advance for [is] the humidity they're going to face.

    "But everyone's going to have to deal with that. Obviously certain countries will get it a lot more - South Africa would be well used to huge levels of humidity - but it's going to be the same conditions for every team.

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    Land Rover is official Worldwide Partner of Rugby World Cup 2019. With over 20 years of heritage supporting rugby at all levels, Land Rover is celebrating what makes rugby, rugby. #LandRoverRugby

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