There have been some doubts about how this version of Team USA would stack up against international competition, but it helped suppress the critics with a convincing 90-81 victory over Spain on Friday night in Anaheim, California. Team USA spread the wealth scoring-wise, with eight players racking up seven points or more. Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell was the high point man with 13, followed by Khris Middleton's 12 and Kemba Walker's 11, to go along with eight assists and six rebounds.
Team USA will now head to Australia, where it will play three more exhibition games before heading to the FIBA World Cup in China. Here are a few takeaways from the game, along with a recap of our live updates.
Team USA fans were understandably concerned when word circulated thatin a scrimmage the other day, but this win against Spain should help assuage those doubts. The Americans led pretty much start to finish, and each time Spain threatened to cut the lead down they responded with big baskets. This might not be the dominant U.S. group that we've seen in previous international tournaments, but they showed why they're still the favorites in the upcoming FIBA World Cup.
Fast and furious
What this USA team lacks in star power, it makes up for it in speed. Led by speedsters Walker and De'Aaron Fox, Team USA came out of the gates against Spain looking to take advantage of its quickness in the full court and the half court. By putting pressure on defense and getting to the rim, that in turn opened up 3-pointers for the team's shooters. It's a tried-and-true method for teams with an athletic edge, and it's something Team USA should be able to take advantage of more often than not.
Get hot, stay hot
Team USA displayed a feathery shooting touch in its intrasquad scrimmage, and that carried over to the win over Spain on Friday. The Americans shot a blistering 11 of 19 from the 3-point line, capitalizing on the wide-open looks created by their spacing and penetration. If they can continue to knock down 3s at this rate, Team USA is going to be tough to beat.
The players on Team USA seemed excited to be playing against another international opponent for the first time since they opened training camp, and it showed with their exuberance on dunk attempts. They didn't always convert, but it seemed like every player was looking to put a Spaniard on a poster at some point during the game. A couple dunks stood out early, the first from Jayson Tatum:
Later it was Mitchell getting in on the action with this highlight slam:
Before the World Cup starts, Team USA will have to trim its roster from 14 to 12. We don't know which players will be cut, but a look at the low-minute players from Friday's exhibition could give us a hint. Fox, who has drawn rave reviews during training camp, only played six minutes, while Derrick White, Brook Lopez and Jaylen Brown all landed under 10. Coach Gregg Popovich might switch this up completely in the next game, but for now we might assume that the two players who will be cut could perhaps come from that group.
Recap of live updates
CBS Sports provided updates throughout the night, so take a look through to see how things went down. If you're having trouble viewing the live application below, please.