Montenegro gave the United States a tough challenge, demonstrating that the competition was only going to intensify. They held the lead at halftime, but Anthony Edwards spearheaded the American comeback in the second half, helping the USA maintain their perfect record and move closer to the Quarter-Finals.
Montenegro earned widespread respect from the basketball world as they battled fiercely for the full 40 minutes, displaying resilience and making a significant impact. The final score ended 85-73 in favor of the USA.
The pivotal moment arrived when Anthony Edwards erupted for 10 points in the third quarter, propelling the USA back into the lead after Montenegro held a slim 38-37 advantage at halftime.
Guided by the dynamic duo of Edwards and Tyrese Haliburton, the USA secured a 61-55 lead heading into the decisive final 10 minutes. Montenegro remained within striking distance, staying just two possessions behind until the last five minutes.
At this critical juncture, Anthony Edwards assumed control once more, netting five consecutive points to keep Montenegro at bay. When Austin Reaves sank his sole three-pointer of the game, the margin stretched to 75-68 with a mere 2:44 remaining. Despite Montenegro’s persistent efforts, they couldn’t bridge the gap.
TCL Player of the Game:
Anthony Edwards started slow, going scoreless and shooting 0-of-5 in the first half, but he finished with 17 points after completely taking over the game in the second half.
Stats Speak Louder:
With the USA struggling from beyond the arc, shooting just 5-of-19, they relied on their defense to generate some offense. They forced 22 turnovers, resulting in a dominant 23-2 advantage in fast break points.
The Bottom Line:
While Coach Steve Kerr can be satisfied with the victory, his team’s performance from the free-throw line left room for improvement, as they shot just 20-of-30.
Montenegro once again witnessed an MVP-like performance from Nikola Vucevic, who recorded an 18-point, 15-rebound double-double despite facing a variety of defenders, from Josh Hart to Jaren Jackson Jr. and Bobby Portis Jr. to Walker Kessler.
Now, Coach Bosko Radovic’s team must prepare for their upcoming clash with Greece.