The Japanese men’s national basketball team lost to the United States, 98-45 on Thursday evening in Shanghai, China.
Rui Hachimura didn’t have a good game. He only shot 2-of-8 from the field for four points. But he did get this big dunk on Myles Turner in the third quarter.
Nick Fazekas and Yuta Watanabe, Japan’s other players with NBA experience, were just as unremarkable. They were effectively shut down, just like Hachimura, dunk aside.
Yudai Baba, a forward for Alvark Tokyo led the Japanese with 18 points on 8-of-15 shooting. However, most of these points were toward the end of the game when the outcome was all but decided.
But even with Baba’s numbers, the Japanese shot just 17-of-62 or 27.4 percent from the field. They also dished 7 team assists. Team USA guard Kemba Walker dished EIGHT.
As for the Americans, this game was basically a tuneup for the knockout rounds since they won the group with a 3-0 record. Jaylen Brown led their scorers with 20 points on 9-of-15 shooting, Though Team USA dished 25 team assists, they also shot just 48.1 percent from the field and could have dominated this game even more from the offensive end.
At any rate, it should be know that they were beating Japan by as many as 62 points, when the score was 98-36 with 3:35 left in the game. The bottom line is that the Americans won big time against an overmatched opponent.
Is it over for the Japanese?
No it isn’t. The Japanese are still playing for FIBA classification points and look to finish higher than 32nd place before the Olympics next year.
The Japanese were fourth place in Group E of the World Cup and now move into Group O, which includes the third and fourth place teams from Group E and Group F. This group has New Zealand (Group F’s third place team), Montenegro (Group F’s fourth place team) and Turkey (Group E’s third place team.)
This group isn’t a round robin so they aren’t playing Turkey again. However, they will play against New Zealand and Montenegro. Here is the schedule:
- Saturday, Sept. 7 — vs. New Zealand (3:30 a.m. ET) in Dongguan
- Monday, Sept. 9 — vs. Montenegro (3:30 a.m. ET) in Dongguan
How about the Americans?
Like the Japanese, Team USA will move into a four-team second round group. They will be in Group K which has Group F’s first and second place teams (Brazil and Greece, respectively) as well as the Czech Republic, Group E’s second place team.
(Sorry to go off topic here, but the Czechs upset Turkey on Thursday, 91-76 despite Wizards alum Tomas Satoransky shooting just 1-of-8 from the field for 11 points. Satoransky made his money at the free throw line going 8-of-8. Ondrej Balvin scored 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Czechs in that win.
And by the way, let’s appreciate his World Cup highlights below (h/t CzechWizFan for the video!
Anyway, I digress!)
The USA won’t play the Czech Republic again in group play. However, they will play Brazil and Greece. The top two teams based on total record will move on to the quarterfinals,. Here is the schedule:
- Saturday, Sept. 7 — vs. Greece (8:30 a.m. ET) in Shenzhen
- Monday, Sept. 9 — vs. Brazil (8:30 a.m. ET) in Shenzhen
The Americans will get a scare from Greece, who have NBA MVP and the World Cup’s best player in Giannis Antetokounmpo. But they lost to Brazil who have two rotation-level NBA players in Cristiano Felicio of the Bulls and Bruno Caboclo of the Grizzlies in Group F play.
I’ll say that Team USA should be able to get to the quarterfinals undefeated, but it wouldn’t shock me if Antetokounmpo finds his 101st gear to upset Team USA. After all, the Greeks were the last team to beat Team USA in a World Cup or Olympics.