Team USA Stifles Giannis Antetokounmpo, Beats Greece


Giannis didn't elaborate on his words because, well, he dodged the media postgame.

That had the United States of America up by 17 after three quarters.

Local Greek-American New Yorker Matheos Sprague had visited the store and said "I'm blown away by Niketown Soho, they designed the entire store in modern and whimsical Hellenic style for Greek NBA star Antetokounmpo". It was Team USA that did most of the talking on the court, anyway.

Team USA has had success with small-ball lineups in this tournament, but it has never been more pronounced than it was in this game. Miserable weather conditions in China forced Popovich to play 10 players in this game, but that has been his style all tournament. After consulting with the coaches, when it came time for a team meeting Friday afternoon Popovich told Joe Harris that he was going to open the game defending Antetokounmpo. Barnes converted the jam but was sent careening, narrowly missing the stanchion in the process.

"The (no apology) escalated it", Marcus Smart said.

Team USA's experience at the FIBA World Cup has not been boring, to say the least. Team USA doesn't play zone, which may actually make Antetokounmpo more comfortable as he can go back to perimeter playmaking like he does for the Bucks.

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"We go as far as Giannis goes".

Other than Antetokounmpo, the rest of the Greece team shot just 25 percent. The Greek defense did a good job collapsing on drivers and getting back to the paint in transition, and the U.S. did not make them pay with threes. They've found their calling card.

The U.S. national team has won 57 consecutive games in worldwide tournaments with NBA players, starting with the 2006 world championships bronze-medal game and continuing through every FIBA Americas, world championships, World Cup and Olympic event since.

Giannis Antetokounmpo posted a fantastic effort of 15 points and 13 rebounds but it was not enough to overcome his team's 38.9% conversion rate from the field. And when Antetokounmpo played on the perimeter, the defense shaded toward him with three players shadowing him.

Jayson Tatum sprained his left ankle in the win over Turkey. His sprained ankle will be re-evaluated before the Brazil game, but with nothing on the line it would be a shock to see him play.

The Americans held on for a 69-53 win Saturday to clinch a spot in the quarterfinals next week, but toward the end of the game, tempers flared between Giannis and his National Basketball Association counterparts.