Giannis takes on Team USA at World Cup

Carrie Guzman
September 11, 2019

Saturday's win over Greece wasn't exactly Team's USA's prettiest win, but a sizeable victory nonetheless. But the one Greece win was during the teams' most recent meeting, in 2006.

That should not overshadow what was one of the better wins for Team USA in this tournament, one where the USA can build some momentum. Jazz star Donovan Mitchell added 10 points of his own. The teams then skipped the traditional postgame handshake, as Team USA remained on the court while Greece retreated to its locker room.

Antetokounmpo was expected to be a big threat after playing relatively light minutes in the first stage, and while he scored 15 points with 13 rebounds he was -17 in his 27 minutes on the floor - the worst +/- rating of any Greece player.

Team USA closes group play Monday morning in China when it takes on an upstart Brazil team. While Harrison Barnes and Giannis' Bucks teammate Khris Middleton figure to be getting duty trying to deal with Antetokounmpo, Brown likely will be relied upon because he's perhaps Team USA's best option. He rotated players in from the weak side to bring double and sometimes even triple teams. And it does sound like the Greeks, who beat Team USA with a precision offensive game plan back in the 2006 World Cup, have been saving something up.

"Today was a good day", Smart said. The problem is the rest of his squad shot 14-55 from the field which translates to 25%.

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"Game was over, so probably was a frustration play or something of that nature", Barnes said. While the altercations were certainly ignited by the foul play done on Barnes, perhaps Brown's personal gripe with Antetokounmpo was a bit more personal. "Well, Giannis said something to me", Brown said about the minor scuffle, according to ESPN's Brian Windhorst.

"Team USA is very risky and we have to be 100 percent prepared for that game", Skourtopoulos said.

That means Greece needs to last longer than Serbia, Spain and France, who are all undefeated so far, otherwise its road to Tokyo is about to get a lot more bumpy.

But before this advancing win, the Kiwis made a decision to put on a display of national pride, one that is always fun to watch on video. 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. They now stand alone atop Group K and have officially clinched a spot in the quarter-finals of the World Cup.

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