Team USA got their FIBA World Cup preparations off to a solid start, with a 90-81 win over Spain at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell led the USA with 13 points, while Khris Middleton added 12 on 5-of-7 shooting from the field. Kemba Walker chipped in 11 points, six rebounds and eight assists on the night, looking every bit the leader of the team.
Team USA came out of the gates with a sense of urgency, moving the ball and attacking the basket, highlighted by this emphatic jam from Donovan Mitchell in the opening quarter.
Donovan Mitchell attacks and TAKES FLIGHT for @usabasketball! #USABMNT- NBA (@NBA) August 17, 2019
📱💻: https://t.co/gWSXqaO9Vj pic.twitter.com/fDmCCycEdC
Jayson Tatum, who added 11 points, five rebounds and four assists, got in on the act in the second quarter as the Americans took a 54-41 lead into half-time, thanks to some dead-eye shooting. They connected on 61 percent of their field goals in the first half and 7-of-11 from deep (63.6 percent).
Jayson Tatum drops the hammer! 🔨#USABMNT | @FIBAWC pic.twitter.com/kgQhr6SdET- NBA TV (@NBATV) August 17, 2019
Gregg Popovich's men led by double digits for most of the second half, before Spain rallied behind a 12-2 run to cut the lead to eight points, until a Joe Harris three-pointer kick-started an 8-0 run for the USA to regain control of the contest.
Despite shooting the ball well in their first warm-up game (54.8 percent from the field and 57.9 percent from three, 11-of-19), Team USA struggled to keep the ball, committing 23 turnovers, which led to 27 points for Spain.
👀 the TOP PLAYS from USA vs. Spain #FIBAWC tune-up action! #USABMNT #USAGotGame pic.twitter.com/jyDjmVViGN- NBA (@NBA) August 17, 2019
Team USA outrebounded Spain 42-20 on the night, with Walker (6), Tatum (5) and Kyle Kuzma (5) doing most of the damage on the glass.
"It was a good chance to jump in the fray and see what this is all about," Team USA coach Gregg Popovich said after his official debut with the national team. "It was like a baptism for us. New group, players, coaches, all that sort of thing. It was a real experience."
Marc Gasol scored a game-high 19 points for Spain, while Ricky Rubio added 16 points, seven assists and five steals.
🇪🇸 @rickyrubio9 with the @BaloncestoESP bucket, plus the foul! pic.twitter.com/rH7oWRuiM9- NBA (@NBA) August 17, 2019
Team USA will now fly out to Australia today for a series of warm-up games against Australia and Canada, with the squad set to be trimmed from 14 players to 12 ahead of the World Cup.