Jaylen Brown scored 20 points, Kemba Walker added 15 and the United States World Cup team finally got to enjoy an easy night, rolling past Japan 98-45 Thursday in the Group E finale.
- Points: Jaylen Brown - 20
- Assists: Kemba Walker - 8
- Rebounds: Myles Turner - 9
- Points: Yudai Baba - 18
- Assists: Yuta Watanabe - 2
- Rebounds: Kosuke Takeuchi - 6
FIBA World Cup day six scores
- USA 98-45 Japan
- Turkey 76-91 Czech Republic
- Dominican Republic 56-90 France
- Lithuania 82-87 Australia
- Greece 103-97 New Zealand
- Germany 96-62 Jordan
- Canada 82-60 Senegal
- Brazil 84-73 Montenegro
Harrison Barnes scored 14 points, while Joe Harris and Donovan Mitchell each had 10 for the Americans (3-0), who are bidding for an unprecedented third consecutive World Cup title.
And now, the NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo awaits the Americans as the stakes get higher.
USA basketball is heading for a pair of second-round games with the first one on Saturday against Antetokounmpo and Greece. The Greeks claimed the 16th and final second-round berth with a win on Thursday night against New Zealand.
FIBA World Cup day six round-up
Czech Republic shock Turkey to advance, Antetokounmpo powers Greece to victory
Yudai Baba scored 18 for Japan (0-3), who will play in classification games the rest of the way. Rui Hachimura, Japan's best player and the No 9 draft pick this year by the Washington Wizards, was held to four points on 2-for-8 shooting.
As a team that is accustomed to blowout wins, particularly when it has NBA players, the US had not enjoyed one yet in six games against international competition this summer. The biggest victory margin before Thursday was 21 in the World Cup opener against the Czech Republic, and the US came into the group finale with a plus-59 scoring differential in four exhibitions and two World Cup games.
This one, two days after the Americans needed late-game heroics to beat Turkey 93-92 in overtime, was drama-free.
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The Americans started the game with a 13-0 run by holding Japan scoreless on their first eight possessions. The US led by 33 at the half and by as many as 62 late in the fourth quarter.
Jayson Tatum was ruled out for the United States through injury and his Boston Celtics team-mate Marcus Smart was a precautionary absentee, as the tenacious guard is dealing with a strained left quad, which comes on the heels of the strained left calf he suffered during Team USA mini-camp.
Next up, Japan will face New Zealand in a classification-round game on Saturday at Dongguan, while the Americans will face Greece and the might of the Greek Freak in Shenzhen.