Team USA got off to a slow start against Spain in Sunday’s exhibition game, its third tune-up ahead of the 2023 FIBA World Cup. The Americans were outscored 28-26 in the first quarter, but managed to battle back in a roller-coaster in their exhibition match in Malaga. The two sides alternated winning quarters throughout the contest, but another strong shooting performance from Jalen Brunson led to a 98-88 win for the visitors. Team USA had to overcome some adversity is trending in the right direction ahead of the main event.
Brunson flirted with a double-double in his previous outing and paced his team with 22 points on a perfect 9-for-9 shooting. He dished out five dimes and knocked down both his attempts from distance for an American side that’s struggled to convert from distance so far. Team USA’s resurgent outside shooting helped them secure a 55-45 lead at the half. The Americans shot 64 percent from the field and 6-for-9 from deep at the break to secure their double-digit lead. Spain eliminated that advantage ahead of the fourth quarter, though.
Spain found their way back into the game by forcing turnovers and creating second-chance opportunities on the glass, which lead to some quality uncontested shots in the third quarter. However, Team USA’s depth won out in the end. Anthony Edwards made some impressive highlight plays on both ends while Jaren Jackson Jr. chipped in with 14 points and three blocks. Mikal Bridges rattled off 12 points of his own to help rally his team to a win.
USA basketball will face Greece on Friday, Aug. 18 in its fourth exhibition game. The World Cup tips off on Aug. 25, with games taking place in Japan, Indonesia and the Philippines.