The United States basketball team achieved a remarkable turnaround against Germany in Abu Dhabi, concluding their series of World Cup warm-up matches with an impeccable winning streak. Despite initially trailing the German team by 16 points deep into the third quarter, the USA managed to stage a noteworthy comeback, driven by the contributions of Anthony Edwards, Austin Reaves, and Tyrese Haliburton after which USA basketball world cup preparations concluded.
Edwards, Reaves, and Haliburton emerged as the catalysts behind the comeback effort, making significant contributions after being substituted into the game. They delivered crucial three-pointers and assisted Edwards in executing a decisive finish to the match. Anthony Edwards, representing the Minnesota Timberwolves, led the scoring with 34 points. Notably, an Edwards three-pointer during the fourth quarter served to equalize the match before the United States secured a final score of 99-91 in their favor.
Steve Kerr on Team USA Basketball World Cup preparations
Steve Kerr, the head coach for both the USA and the Golden State Warriors, commended Edwards for his performance and expressed his belief that this national team experience could serve as a platform for the 22-year-old player’s growth.
“He is unquestionably ‘the guy’. He knows it, but now the team knows it and I think the fans see it, but we see it in practice every day,” said Kerr.
“He genuinely believes he is the best player in the gym every single night and he’s such a dynamic young player but I think he’s taking a leap.
“And if you think about USA basketball over the years, a lot of young players have taken a leap in these World Cup, Olympic competitions and it feels to me like Anthony is taking that leap.”
Dennis Schroeder of the Toronto Raptors led Germany’s offense with 16 points and 10 assists, while Franz Wagner from the Orlando Magic secured the highest score with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
Reflecting on Germany’s performance, Kerr remarked, “Germany was great, they were so physical,”
“Schroeder is such a tough match-up and gets penetration and they did a good job on the glass, they beat us up rebounding-wise, so we were trying to make decisions during the game, do we go bigger or do we try to get more playmaking on the floor?
“They forced us into a lot of difficult decisions.” ‘Huge step’
With victories in exhibition games against Puerto Rico, Slovenia, Spain, Greece, and now Germany, the United States heads to the World Cup in Manila. They are set to commence their campaign against New Zealand on August 26. The team aims to surpass their seventh-place finish from the previous competition four years ago.
Kerr acknowledged the complexity of assembling a team with no prior national team experience within a short span of weeks. He commented, “The hard part is when you don’t know your team quite well enough yet, you’ve got a lot of options but no clear decisions, no clear moves,” explained Kerr, who has the challenging task of putting together a group with no national team experience in the span of a few weeks.
“And so, right now, tonight, was definitely sort of, let’s try to find a group that clicks and stay with them.
“We have 12 great players and every night could be different, we just got to find a group that can click.
“We still go to Manila feeling like we have a lot of room for growth but we also go there with a lot of confidence in ourselves in the group, in the fibre of the group, the connection, they really like each other, they play well together, and they fight.
“So that’s a huge step.”