Team USA finally produced the dominant performance the basketball world has been waiting for in the FIBA World Cup. Unfortunately for Japan, they were on the receiving end of a ruthless beating from the Americans, as the wire-to-wire victory ended with a final score of 98-45.
Team USA was out to prove a point in this one, as they pounded the Japanese from start to finish. Setting the tone early, the Americans started the game on a 23-9 surge in the first quarter and never looked back. It was already over by halftime with Team USA up 56-23.
Boston Celtics stud Jaylen Brown top-scored for the Americans with 20 markers, along with two 3-pointers, seven rebounds, an assist, and two steals in over 22 minutes of play. His Boston teammate, Kemba Walker (15 points, eight assists) also showed up, and so did Harrison Barnes (14 points, eight rebounds) of the Sacramento Kings.
With the victory, Team USA completes a clean sweep of the opening group stage, and will now progress to the next phase of the tournament. The Czech Republic, who earlier secured a 91-76 victory against Turkey, will be the other team coming out of Group E.
Both teams will now be part of Group K, together with the top two teams of Group F from the first round. Brazil won Group F after defeating Montenegro by a score of 84-73 to end the first round with a perfect 3-0 record.
The Giannis Antetokounmpo-led Greece side will complete the roster for Group K, as they have just come out victorious in their do-or-die battle against New Zealand, 103-97.
Team USA will be faced with a more formidable set of opponents in the next stage, and they will definitely need to be at their best to avoid any unwanted slip-ups at this point in the tournament. The Americans will face Giannis and the Greeks on Saturday.