The US Senior Males’s Basketball Workforce obtained its emotions harm on Sunday. Within the closing sport of the 2023 FIBA World Cup Group Stage, they suffered their first worldwide defeat of 2023 with a 110-104 loss to Lithuania.
USA’s roster is robust, even with most of the nation’s greatest gamers electing to not take part. The trendy NBA sport is reliant on size and capturing, and USA has an abundance of each. What the roster is missing is beef. Lithuania exploited that mismatch all sport. USA solely led twice within the sport, going up 2-0 and 4-2 within the first quarter.
A 56 % crew 3-point share is at all times a plus, however Lithuania solely totaled three extra makes from behind the arc than USA although it shot a paltry 37.8 % by comparability. The place USA was dominated all sport lengthy was on the boards. Lithuania outrebounded USA 43-25.
Jaren Jackson Jr. is the most effective large on USA. The 2022-23 NBA Defensive Participant of the 12 months brings a wealth of strengths to the squad. Nonetheless, none of these strengths embody the meat needed to carry off the likes of 7-footers Jonas Valančiūnas and Donatas Motiejūnas, and even small ahead Tadas Sedekerskis, who was the sport’s main rebounder with 11. Jackson resorted again to his previous fouling habits, and was solely on the courtroom for quarter-hour.
Workforce USA must get harder on the boards
Lithuania hauled in 18 offensive rebounds for the sport, doubling USA’s 9. For the entire lengthy arms on the USA roster, they principally belong to perimeter gamers. Jackson is a superb defender, however his greatest offense is from the perimeter. Walker Kessler is the one true heart on the crew, however when he’s on the ground it hurts USA’s spacing. Paolo Banchero is constructed like a 1990’s energy ahead, however he doesn’t rebound like one. Via 5 World Cup video games, Banchero has a complete of 17 rebounds.
Whereas USA spent a lot of the sport — particularly the primary half — getting bullied, the crew did struggle again. USA was down 54-37 at intermission and took lower than half of the third quarter to chop the deficit down to 2 possessions. Throughout that run Lithuania was held to solely 4 factors.
USA has loads of explosive scorers and knockdown shooters. A lead towards the Individuals won’t ever be protected, particularly after they flip up the defensive depth. None of that issues although after they can’t safe a rebound to finish a possession.
The teaching on USA is second to none. The Miami Warmth’s video coordinator turned two-time NBA Champion head coach, Erik Spoelstra, was most likely pouring by tape as quickly as he obtained into the locker room after the sport. He, USA head coach Steve Kerr, Tyronn Lue, and Mark Few will discover mismatches towards Lithuania that the gamers will have the ability to exploit ought to the 2 groups meet once more within the Gold Medal Recreation.
As unhealthy as USA was pounded on the glass, there have been a number of probabilities to win the sport. It simply wasn’t in a position to make a well timed shot to get the rating to a one possession sport. Lithuania would then go on to stretch the lead out once more, forcing one other USA run to shut the hole.
Lithuania is way from unbeatable, but when USA isn’t in a position to scale back the rebounding disparity, a giant day from the 3-point line will likely be needed for victory.