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FIBA World Cup: All the action from China

Huw Hopkins - @coach_huw

Tuesday 3 September 2019 17:30, UK

Donovan Mitchell acknowledges an assist during USA's World Cup opener against the Czech Republic
Image: Donovan Mitchell acknowledges an assist during USA's World Cup opener against the Czech Republic

As the FIBA World Cup approaches the second-round action, Huw Hopkins and Joshua Gorton break down what took place as the next group stage starts to take shape. Follow the latest in this Sky Sports round-up

Donovan Mitchell acknowledges an assist during USA's World Cup opener against the Czech Republic
Image: Donovan Mitchell acknowledges an assist during USA's World Cup opener against the Czech Republic

USA 93-92 Turkey

If the USA is considered the Death Star in the world of basketball, Turkey exposed the thermal exhaust port and showed how teams need to play to beat the Americans at this year's FIBA World Cup.

Gregg Popovich with Kemba Walker at the USA Basketball Select camp in Las Vegas 1:11
Team USA hit the court at the University of Las Vegas ahead of the FIBA World Cup. Credit: ESPN.

Headed up by their own trio of NBA stars - Ersan İlyasova, Cedi Osman and Furkan Korkmaz - the Turkish side kept a scoring punch on the court at all times. The defensive zone was built to close out on dangerous three-point shooters while allowing the weaker Americans to shoot.

The USA played well with Myles Turner roaming the paint at times, but he was outperformed by Ersan İlyasova in points and rebounds. And the coaching performance of Ufuk Sarica, throwing the Americans off their plan with unusual big versus small combinations, meant that Turner was prevented from causing greater damage than necessary.

A turnover by the USA in the fourth quarter allowed Turkey to tie the game at 71 apiece with five minutes to go, but sharpshooter Joe Harris stole the ball a few possessions later to take a three-point lead with a little more than four minutes to play.

Ersan Ilyasova reacts after scoring in Turkey's opening win at the FIBA World Cup
Image: Ersan Ilyasova reacts after scoring in Turkey's opening win at the FIBA World Cup

Turkey tied the game at 79 off a tough layup by İlyasova, and the team took the a two-point lead with 12 seconds to go when he tipped in a missed three-point shot from Cedi Osman. But Jayson Tatum was fouled on a wild three-point shot to tie the game that forced overtime.

Kemba Walker attempted to take over in the extra frame, but Osman tied the game up with 50 seconds to go, and he hit the free throw after getting fouled to go up 92-91. In the closing few seconds, Turkey blew three out of four free throws and let the USA loose on a fast break to get fouled. Khris Middleton made two free throws and at the other end of the court İlyasova missed a three-point shot to win.

More on this story

Turkey should have won the game, but the USA will face the bigger questions after this performance: how do they stand a chance at winning the World Cup if they nearly got beaten in the first round?

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Brazil 79-78 Greece

Brazil recovered from a 17-point deficit to edge out Greece by a solitary point in a breathless Group F tussle in Nanjing.

Greece, led by Giannis Antetokounmpo, appeared to be in control but a block by Bruno Caboclo, followed by a three-pointer by Alex Garcia with less than five minutes left in the third quarter, gave Brazil the initiative.

Leandro Barbosa scores with a lay-up for Brazil
Image: Leandro Barbosa scores with a lay-up for Brazil

Anderson Varejao produced arguably the performance of his national career - finishing with 22 points and 9 rebounds, as he sunk a nerveless shot in the closing stages to seal a 79-78 victory courtesy of a wonderful assist by Leandro Barbosa.

Kostas Sloukas had the opportunity to tie the score with two seconds left on the clock - he made his first two free throws, but the third one was cleared by Caboclo which sealed the win for Brazil.

Varejao finished with 22 points and 9 rebounds, Marquinhos scored 15, whilst Barbosa and Alex Garcia both registered 13 points apiece.

Georgios Printezis scored 20 for Greece, Kostas Sloukas registered 9 points and 11 assists, while Giannis fouled out with 13 points, four rebounds and just one assist as Brazil secured their progression to round two.

Lithuania 92-69 Canada

Lithuania claimed their spot in the second round with a 92-69 victory over Canada in Group G.

Edgaras Ulanovas had a team-high 15 points for Lithuania, although there were a number of notable contributions throughout the side.

FIBA World Cup - Group standings

FIBA World Cup - Group standings

How do the eight groups currently stand?

Jonas Valanciunas finished with 13 points, Mantas Kalnietis and Lukas Lekavicius scored 11 each, while Domantas Sabonis finished with 10.

Kyle Wiltjer starred with a 24-point showing for Canada, although they are now simply playing for pride when they take on Senegal on Thursday, as their hopes of qualification are over.

France 103-64 Jordan

France joined Dominican Republic in the second round with an emphatic victory over Jordan.

Rudy Gobert shoots a free throw for France
Image: Rudy Gobert shoots a free throw for France

France led 36-33 late in the first half, but they pulled away in the latter stages, with Nando De Colo, Rudy Gobert, Evan Fournier, Frank Ntilikina and Amath M'Baye all featuring prominently.

Australia 81-68 Senegal

A perfect game from Joe Ingles for Australia (2-0) saw the Utah Jazz guard nearly post a triple-double for the Boomers, as his side beat Senegal convincingly.

Patty Mills in action for Australia against Canada in a pre-World Cup exhibition
Image: Patty Mills in action for Australia against Canada in a pre-World Cup exhibition

San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills led the team in scoring with 22 points, but it was a team effort that saw the Aussies hit 39 per cent from three and 66 per cent from inside the arc.

Senegal performed valiantly, but were never going to match up to the talent of Australia.

New Zealand 93-83 Montenegro

New Zealand bounced back from a tough loss against Brazil in the opening game to beat Montenegro in what is becoming the most entertaining group of the tournament.

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Each team grabbed 38 rebounds, while New Zealand leaned on Corey Webster, who scored 25 in 27 minutes, and Isaac Fotu, who managed 20, to open up the gap in the points column.

The real gap opened up in the final quarter, when the All Blacks outscored the Montenegrans 27-18 to secure a 10-point victory.

Czech Republic 89-76 Japan

While the Japan side might have lost both games so far, it is a good exhibition for the Washington Wizards first-round draft pick Rui Hacmimura and the G League's Memphis Hustle's Yuta Watanabe.

Kemba Walker guards Tomas Satoransky
Image: Kemba Walker guards Tomas Satoransky

The Czech team had a balanced attack with three players in double figures (including Blake Schilb and Jaromir Bohacik on 22 points each) while Tomas Satoransky paced the team in assists and managed 6 rebounds.

Hachimura managed 21 points but Japan never outscored the Czechs in any quarter, and Japan never looked like it had enough defensively to slow the Europeans down.

Dominican Republic 70-68 Germany

In a scrappy final few minutes in Shenzhen, the Dominicans pulled out another victory to go undefeated in Group G and basically guarantee a spot in the next round.

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With their two best players not playing at this tournament, few expected much from the Dominicans and this German team has several players who should be able to lift the team to the next level, but outside of Dennis Schroder, Germany had relatively nothing in terms of scoring.

Both sides struggled, but the defence of Dominican Republic held firm in the final scoreless minutes of the game to retain a two-point victory.

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