Team USA takes flight to Tokyo with a victory over Spain to close out exhibition play 83-76
Vegas- Teams USA quiet critics with a victory over Spain.
After having to cancel a game on Friday, due to players testing positive for COVID-19, Team USA had their last and final exhibition game against Spain on Sunday. Jayson Tatum and Damian Lillard got Team USA going early. Both players were physical on the offensive end and used their height to shoot over shorter defenders. Despite the quick start, Team USA struggled with Spain's bigs. Paul Gasol took advantage of Team USA's smaller line-up and helped Spain extend their lead to four at the end of the first quarter.
Team USA adjusted to all of the switches that Spain used and used their speed as a factor to force four turnovers early in the second. Early on speed against physicality worked for Team USA, but late in the quarter, Spain used high screen and roll offense to pick apart Team USA. The three point shot was a nightmare on Elm Street for Team USA. They shot 5 out of 15 from behind the arc in the half. Team USA made a mini-run prior to the end of the quarter to cut Spain's lead to two, 38-36.
In the second half, Team USA had trouble stopping Ricky Rubio. In the first three minutes of the third, Rubio scored six points without any defense stopping him. In a grind it out type of half, Team USA stiffened up their defense. Kevin Durant had a beautiful block on Paul Gasol late in the quarter, which had everyone in the stands oohing and awing. Keldon Johnson and crew went on a 14-6 run to take the lead and close out the quarter with a seven point lead.
The intensity picked up for Team USA in the fourth, as they closed out on Spain's open shooters, chased after loose balls, and made life difficult for Spain. Team USA extend their lead to 12, but costly turnovers helped Spain get back into the game with under six minutes left in regulation.
Durant, Lillard, and Zach LaVine turned on the jets and went on a 18-10 run to shut the casket on the critics and ended exhibition play with a win over Spain.