The U.S. defeated Spain, the “defending champion” of the Basketball World Cup, and won three matches in a row.
The United States won 98-88 in an evaluation match against Spain in preparation for the 2023 International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Philippines-Japan-Indonesia Basketball World Cup held in Malaga, Spain on the 14th (Korean time).
The USA beat Spain thanks to the performances of Jaylen Brunson and Austin Reeves. It was a close match in which the winner was unknown until the end, but it was a valuable victory obtained by concentrating on the final match. With this, the U.S. defeated Puerto Rico and Slovenia, followed by Spain, and won three matches in a row.
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In the early stages of the game, Brunson proved his best field goal and attacked Spain’s rim. He mobilized every weapon, including jumpers, breakthroughs, and 3-pointers. Spain wasn’t too bad either. The Hernangomez brothers broke the American defense by stirring the inside and outside. The US and Spain focused only on the rim at a fast pace. At the end of the first quarter, the United States, pushed back by the firepower of Fernandez and Aldama, gave up the lead 26-28.
With the start of the second quarter, Johnson’s 3-pointer spewed fire. With the addition of Ingram and Brunson, the tide was quickly reversed. The United States and Spain maintained a 4-point lead throughout the second quarter and engaged in an offensive battle. It was after Brunson’s floater and Bridges’ three-pointer that the balance broke. The U.S. finished the second quarter with a 55-45, 10-point lead, with Edwards and Reeves hitting quick dunks right before the end of the first half.
With the start of the second half, the concentration of the United States dropped significantly. They committed three consecutive errors, giving Spain 9 points. Jackson Jr.’s 3-pointer widened the gap again, but it was difficult to regain the already lost flow. It allowed Fernandez a 3-point shot and was pushed back by 64-68, 4 points.
The United States turned the tide of battle again with Brunson, Ingram, and Reeves. However, just before the end of the 3rd quarter, Diaz hit a 3-point shot and barely finished with a 72-71, 1-point lead.
The United States seldom ran away from Spain until the beginning of the fourth quarter. After Jackson Jr.’s Andone play, Bridges and Reeves’ 3-pointer and Halliburton’s dunk after a steal finally began to widen the gap. Adding to Brunson’s clever foul inducement, the USA beat Spain by 88-82, 6 points.
The United States, once seizing the victory, pushed Spain hard. After a unique pressure defense, he easily accumulated points with a transition game. Spain also struggled until the end, but could not handle the United States riding the current. In the end, the United States won in the home of Spain.