WORLD

USA rolls past Jordan 110-62. Now Round 2 of Basketball World Cup awaits

Aug 30, 2023, 3:30 AM

Jordan forward Rondae Hollis Jefferson (24) is fouled by U.S. forward Jaren Jackson Jr. (13) as he ...

Jordan forward Rondae Hollis Jefferson (24) is fouled by U.S. forward Jaren Jackson Jr. (13) as he shoots during the first half of a Basketball World Cup group C match in Manila, Philippines Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Another game, another blowout for the U.S. at the Basketball World Cup. And now the competition figures to get considerably tougher.

Anthony Edwards scored 22 points and the Americans completed an easy march through the group stage Wednesday, beating Jordan 110-62 to improve to 3-0 and finish atop Group C. Second-round play for the U.S. starts Friday against Montenegro.

Bobby Portis scored 13 for the U.S., which led by 19 after one quarter and 62-33 at the half. Jaren Jackson Jr. scored 12 and Jalen Brunson added 10.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson — the only player with any NBA experience on Jordan’s roster — led his team with 20 points and seven rebounds. Jordan finished group play 0-3 and will play in the classification round for non-second-round teams starting Thursday.

The U.S. improved to 8-0 overall this summer, counting five exhibitions played on the way to Manila. They’re one of three teams that won all three group-stage games by at least 20 points — joining Group H winner Canada and Group D winner Lithuania, which will face the Americans in the second-round finale on Sunday.

This one was the easiest of the three for the U.S., which beat New Zealand by 27 in its opener and Greece by 28 on Monday.

Hollis-Jefferson has tried to fashion his game — not to mention his current haircut, it seems, since there is a striking similarity — after Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, even wearing No. 24 on his jersey for Jordan this summer.

If this was his audition to get back to the NBA, after not playing in the league since June 2021, it wasn’t bad. He had 66 points in Jordan’s first two games at the World Cup, then shot 6 for 16 on Wednesday.

Hollis-Jefferson had previously gone up against all four coaches on the U.S. staff — head coach Steve Kerr of Golden State and assistants Erik Spoelstra of Miami, Tyronn Lue of the Los Angeles Clippers and Mark Few of Gonzaga.

His Arizona teams went 2-0 against Gonzaga, and in the NBA, Hollis-Jefferson’s teams had a 1-7 record against Golden State when he played, a 3-7 mark against Lue’s teams (3-6 vs. Cleveland, 0-1 vs. the Clippers) and a 6-10 record against the Heat.

TIP-INS

USA: The U.S. also won all its group games by at least 20 points at the 2014 tournament, when there were five games in that round and not three. … FanDuel Sportsbook listed the Americans as 41.5-point favorites.

Jordan: It was the first time Jordan played the U.S. in a senior men’s competition. U.S. teams beat Jordan in World University Games matchups in 1979 and 1985 (both times by exactly 110 points, not a typo), and by 10 at the U19 world championship in 1995. … After playing Egypt on Thursday, Jordan finishes its World Cup stay against Mexico on Saturday.

LINEUP CHANGE

For the first time this summer, the U.S. had a different starting five. Brandon Ingram was out and Josh Hart was in, joining Brunson, Edwards, Jackson Jr. and Mikal Bridges.

EVERYBODY IN

All 12 U.S. players had scored by the end of the third quarter. The Americans also got everybody into the scoring column in Monday’s win over Greece.

UP NEXT

USA: Faces Montenegro in a second-round game Friday in Manila.

Jordan: Faces Egypt in in a classification game Thursday in Manila.

___

AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba and AP sports: https://apnews.com/sports

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USA rolls past Jordan 110-62. Now Round 2 of Basketball World Cup awaits