FIBA World Cup favourites justified the expectations in their first preparation game. Team USA defeated Spain, which is second in FIBA rankings, in California.
The Americans led for almost the entire game. The lead was in double digits for the entire second half. Spain reduced the gap to nine points towards the end of the game, which ended 90-81.
The win puts to rest the doubts whether this Team USA squad is capable of defending the title in China, which arose after a one-quarter scrimmage loss to USA Select Team.
Team USA was without Marcus Smart of the Boston Celtics. But his absence was hardly felt as it was a real team effort for Gregg Popovich’s side with four players finishing the game in double digits.
Donovan Mitchell was the top scorer for the winners with 13 points, Khris Middleton added 12 while Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum had 11 each.
Spain was led by the newly bread NBA champion Marc Gasol, who had 19 points. The other NBA player, Ricky Rubio, added 16, while EuroLeague star Sergio Llull dropped 11.
The Americans will now travel to Melbourne, Australia, to continue their World Cup preparations. There they will face Australia (August 22 and 24) and Canada (August 26).
Team USA will start their World Cup campaign in Group E alongside Czech Republic, Japan and Turkey.
Meanwhile Spain will finish their preparations with games against the Dominican Republic, Argentina and Russia.
Spain will launch their World Cup campaign in Group C and will face Iran, Puerto Rico and Tunisia.