Team USA opened FIBA World Cup group stage play over the weekend with a 99-72 win over New Zealand. Paolo Banchero led the way with 21 points off the bench for the Americans. Banchero as a small-ball five has been an interesting look for Team USA; while the international game is undoubtedly different than the NBA, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Orlando Magic tinker with the idea. Five other Americans finished in double figures, including 14 points from Anthony Edwards.
Today’s opponent, Greece, also won its initial contest in group stage play, 92-71, over Jordan. Antetokounmpo had nine points as a starter for Greece, but sadly for our viewing experience today, I’m referring to Thanasis, not Giannis, who is sitting out the tournament to rest his knee. Giannoulis Larentzakis, who plays for Olympiacos in the Greek league, led Greece with 19 points.
These two sides are the overwhelming favorites to advance out of Group C in the initial group stage. Even without Giannis, the Greeks should provide a stiffer test than New Zealand, but the Americans are still 22.5-point favorites for this contest, per DraftKings.
We’ll see if the Americans can handle their business and keep things relatively unexciting in the group stage. Grab some coffee, pour some cereal, and tune in for some morning hoops on the hardwood and follow along in the comments.
Who: United States of America vs. Greece
When: 8:40am ET
Where: Mall of Asia Arena, Manila, Philippines