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SportU.S. escapes Turkey at FIBA World Cup in closest game in 13 years

18:25  03 september  2019
18:25  03 september  2019 Source:   nbcsports.com

FIBA World Cup 2019: Team USA players push back on criticism of roster

FIBA World Cup 2019: Team USA players push back on criticism of roster “We’re NBA players. We’re pretty good at what we do," Celtics forward Jayson Tatum said.

The U.S. looks vulnerable on paper at the FIBA World Cup. Turkey proved it on the court on Tuesday, nearly handing the Americans their first loss at a major tournament since 2006 to end a 44-game win streak at the Olympics and worlds.

U.S. escapes Turkey at FIBA World Cup in closest game in 13 years© Getty Images

The U.S. eked out a 93-92 win in overtime, its closest at a major tournament since its last loss in the 2006 World semifinals to Greece. Turkey led 92-91 when it missed four straight free throws with nine seconds left in OT. A full box score is here.

Khris Middleton, one of two 2019 NBA All-Stars on a superstar-less U.S. roster, made two free throws with two seconds left before Milwaukee Bucks teammate Ersan Ilyasova missed a contested three-pointer as time expired that would have sent shockwaves across international basketball.

The 7 teams that can beat Team USA at the 2019 FIBA World Cup, ranked

The 7 teams that can beat Team USA at the 2019 FIBA World Cup, ranked Team USA is vulnerable, but who is best equipped to make them pay?

Turkey is a decent opponent, the 2010 World silver medalist ranked No. 17, but tougher nations are believed to be coming in the knockout rounds.

Much has been made about this U.S. roster lacking NBA superstars — it has one Olympian (Harrison Barnes) and two 2019 NBA All-Stars (Kemba Walker, Middleton). Many potential Tokyo Olympians opted out of suiting up for Team USA this summer — even with highly respected Gregg Popovich making his U.S. head coaching debut — a common occurrence in World Cup years.

U.S. escapes Turkey at FIBA World Cup in closest game in 13 years© Provided by NBC Sports Group

Ten days ago, a 78-game win streak when including exhibitions with NBA players was snapped in a pre-World Cup loss to Australia.

The U.S. didn’t trail against Turkey until the final minute. With 12 seconds left, Jayson Tatum was fouled while attempting a go-ahead three-pointer. Tatum made two of three free throws to force OT.

USA Basketball’s First Win at the FIBA World Cup Was Boring, And That’s a Good Thing

USA Basketball’s First Win at the FIBA World Cup Was Boring, And That’s a Good Thing USA Basketball's opening group match was quite literally a snoozer but that doesn't mean there wasn't some bright spots.

The U.S., which beat the Czech Republic 88-67 in its opener on Sunday, finishes group play against Japan, lowest-ranked of the three-team group, on Thursday.

Also Tuesday, Canada was eliminated after losses to Australia (108-92) and Lithuania (92-69). That means the Canadians, seeking their first Olympic men’s basketball berth since 2000, will likely vie for one of the final four Olympic spots at a last-chance qualifying tournament next year.

Canada might have the most NBA options of any nation outside the U.S., but Andrew Wiggins, RJ Barrett, Jamal Murray and Tristan Thompson were all absent from the World Cup.

MORE: FIBA World Cup schedule, results

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