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FIBA World Cup: USA Ready for Tricky Turkish Test

FIBA World Cup: USA Ready for Tricky Turkish Test

USA vs Turkey

The two top teams of FIBA World Cup Group E collide as the USA face off with Turkey. After much talk about several US stars pulling out of the squad, the defending champions got their tournament off to a predictably strong start with an 88-67 win over the Czech Republic.

Meanwhile, the Turks had an almost identical scoreline in their tournament opener as they swept past the Rui Hachimura-led Japan team, 86-67.

With a number of players with NBA experience on the team, Turkey will be the US’s toughest test in the first group stage. But still, the FIBA World Cup 2019 odds fancy the Americans to pass it with flying colours.

Talking Points

Team USA on their way

Team USA hardly had to break a sweat in their opening match against the Czech Republic. After a bit of slow start in the first quarter, the Americans went on a huge run in the second and never looked back as they kept the Czechs in check for the remainder of the game.

The Boston Celtics duo of Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum combined for 23 points — 20 coming in the first half — to send the US on their way. Donovan Mitchell led the team with 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting, while Harrison Barnes was the other US player in double figures with 14 points.

The US also showcased their significant size and athletic advantages on the defensive end. Despite the best efforts of Chicago Bulls guard Tomas Satoransky, the Czechs hardly stood a chance.

Coach Gregg Popovich was pleased with the team’s performance on the defensive end of the court and believes it has to be their “calling card” in this tournament.

After their shock exhibition loss to Australia, there was growing concern that this US team missing a handful of their top stars would be quite vulnerable in the World Cup.

But while that may yet be the case against the very top competition, the US showed that they are still head and shoulders above the other teams in the tournament. Their size and athleticism on the wings, in particular, will be a problem that most teams will struggle to solve.

Turkey have the tools to cause trouble

Much like the US, Turkey had few problems dealing with Japan in their opener. The Turks jumped out to a double-digit lead midway through the first quarter and were in complete control from there.

That should be no surprise given the talent on this Turkish team. They have four players with NBA experience former Celtics big man Semih Erden, Milwaukee Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova, Philadelphia 76ers guard Furkan Korkmaz, and Cleveland Cavaliers forward Cedi Osman.

Ilyasova paced the team with 19 points and 10 rebounds against Japan, while Osman and Korkmaz added 12 and 10, respectively.

In Korkmaz and Osman, Turkey have what most other teams in the tournament outside of the US do not: two capable NBA-calibre wing players. Although they are still way below the quality of the Americans, they at least have a chance to remain competitive and produce some FIBA World Cup 2019 highlights.

While Ilyasova went 5-of-9 on 3-pointers against Japan, Osman and Korkmaz were 0-of-5 combined. Those two will need to find their shooting stroke from distance against the Americans or they risk suffering a heavy defeat.


The US and Turkey have face off against each other twice in FIBA World Cup history, and they’ve come in the last two editions of the tournament. Unsurprisingly, the US have come out on top on both occasions.

They first met in the final of the 2010 FIBA World Championship, which the US won, 81-64, in Istanbul. They also met in the group stage of the 2014 FIBA World Cup. Again, the US strolled to a 98-77 win thanks to 22 points and eight rebounds from Kenneth Faried.

What are the odds?

There are still no SBOBET odds for this match as of this writing, but they will most likely favour the US by a decent margin. While the Turks have some talented players at their disposal, it will still be tough to see them giving the Americans too many problems.

With a game now under their belt, the US should be keen to be at their best against their most difficult test of the first round. It will be a good measure of where the team is in their development ahead of more challenging games to come.






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Brad Taningco
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