Team USA cruises to 53-point victory

SHANGHAI — The United States Men’s National Team completed first round play at the FIBA World Cup with an easy, 98-45 win over Japan on Thursday.

After surviving a major scare against Turkey two nights earlier, the U.S. (now 3-0) took care of business early against the winless Japanese. The Americans started the game with a 13-0 run by holding Japan scoreless on its first eight possessions. The U.S. led by 33 at the half and by as many as 62 late in the fourth quarter.

The U.S. shot 48 percent from the field and took more than half of its shots from 3-point range, where it was 14-for-41 (34 percent). Jaylen Brown led five Americans in double-figures with 20 points, featuring two highlight, fast-break dunks.

Japan shot just 27 percent, connecting on just three of their 17 3-point attempts. Washington Wizards rookie Rui Hachimura scored just four points in 24 minutes for Japan, but had a highlight dunk on Myles Turner midway through the third quarter.

Both Jayson Tatum (left ankle sprain) and Marcus Smart (left quad strain) sat out Thursday’s win. Joe Harris (10 points, 2-for-3 from 3-point range) started in place of Tatum, who will miss at least one more game. Smart is day-to-day.

The U.S. has a 56-game winning streak in (non-exhibition) games with a roster made up entirely of NBA players, going back to the bronze-medal game of the 2006 World Championship. It now moves on to Shenzhen, where it will play 2-1 Greece (with NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo) on Saturday and 3-0 Brazil on Monday in the second round. The other team making the trip is the Czech Republic, which pulled off a surprise win over Turkey on Thursday. Turkey, which was a couple of free throws from defeating the United States, will not advance to the second round.

The top two teams (with first round results counting toward the standings) from Group K — Brazil, the Czech Republic, Greece and the United States — will advance to the quarterfinals.

NBA.COM