In a resounding performance led by Jalen Brunson of the New York Knicks, Team USA showcased their prowess with a commanding 117-74 triumph over Puerto Rico last night in the first World Cup tune-up game for the Americans. Despite limited pre-game hype, the FIBA World Cup encounter showcased the team’s strength and determination.
As the second-ranked contender behind Spain, and with formidable talents like Luka Doncic looming, Team USA demonstrated the need for exceptional effort from the very first game.
Brunson leading a youthful Team USA roster
Anthony Edwards, Jaren Jackson Jr, and New York’s own Brunson set the tone for Team USA, displaying early cohesiveness in these summer games. Team USA is comprised of one of its youngest groups ever and Brunson is quickly establishing himself as a leader among the young talent.
Brunson’s stellar performance vs Puerto Rico
Brunson, who garnered praise from Team USA head coach Steve Kerr for his leadership this summer, emerged as a pivotal figure in the win over Puerto Rico. The 6-foot-1 point guard put up 11 points, 12 rebounds, and 3 assists in 22 minutes of playing time, surprisingly leading Team USA in rebounds.
Brunson’s performance was characterized by impressive decision-making and aggression while driving to the basket. He exhibited his incredible playmaking abilities from the opening tip with a bounce pass to the rim-running Anthony Edwards. The play spurred Team USA to catch their groove against a hungry Puerto Rico team led by Tremont Waters.
Team USA wins after a dominant second half
Former Boston Celtics point guard Tremont Waters was no match for Team USA as he tried his best to keep his Puerto Rican squad competitive. Team USA’s dominant second half was highlighted by an 18–0 run as they started firing on all cylinders, looking like the squad has been playing together for months.
Brunson praises his teammates following the commanding win over Puerto Rico
Brunson praised his teammates following their commanding victory over Puerto Rico.
It’s just us playing together. We’re still getting to know each other, but everyone’s really putting egos aside just to win and we’ve got a lot of high-character guys. That’s the No. 1 priority for every single one of them.Jalen Brunson following Team USA’s win over Puerto Rico
The Knicks have something special in Jalen Brunson
Brunson’s lead-by-example approach was evident as posted double-digit rebounds, a feat he had not accomplished once during the 2022-2023 NBA season with the Knicks. The 26-year-old point guard has commanded the reigns as Team USA’s leader, and he seems to be fitting in well with his teammates.
Following the game against Puerto Rico, Tyrese Haliburton and Brandon Ingram had some fun with Brunson, buying snacks at the Knicks guard’s expense after he left his wallet behind in the locker room.
A small joke on the team captain, boding well for the camaraderie of Team USA. A winning culture for Team USA being led by New York’s own, Jalen Brunson, has Knicks fans ecstatic about what he’s bringing to Madison Square Garden this upcoming season.
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