Knicks stars lead Team USA to commanding win vs. New Zealand

jalen brunson, knicks
Feb 15, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) brings the ball up the floor against the Atlanta Hawks during the first half at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

New York Knicks cornerstone G Jalen Brunson started for Team USA as they dismantled New Zealand during their opening contest in the FIBA Basketball World Cup with a final score of 99–72. Brunson delivered 10 points, four rebounds, and four assists in the commanding victory. With the help of another Knicks teammate, Brunson and Team USA got the tournament off to a hot start.

Knicks stars lead Team USA to commanding win vs. New Zealand

Team USA’s excellent defense was the catalyst to the victory as the Knicks’ newly extended guard, Josh Hart, posted a team-high +28 in only 15 minutes of play. Hart closed out the game alongside Brunson as Team USA coasted to a 27-point victory.

Moving as a unit in HC Steve Kerr’s system, the way these young stars gel together indicates that there are no egos on such a highly talented American team. Having no egos is crucial on the world stage as talent across the board is steep to climb.

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Brunson is the star of the show

Brunson had a modest showing in his first-ever start for Team USA. He stated postgame, “We gotta get ready to go from the start of the game.”

Getting Team USA off to a start with the first two of the game, New Zealand countered to go up 10 early in the first quarter. Finally honing in on their strengths, Team USA never looked back as Brunson had timely dimes with tough defense in his minutes, continuing to lead by example. With the strides on display this summer, an All-Star season looks to be on the horizon for Brunson.

Hart helps contribute to the big win

Helping set the tone was Hart as he and Brunson shared the closing lineup, displaying winning intangibles boxing well for the New York Knicks.

On the Knicks’ upcoming season, Brunson was questioned about the importance of Team USA and how it will reflect this season, “Getting better every single day, not focusing on the end goal it’s all about the process all about the journey.”

The Knicks have worldwide representation in the World Cup

Representing Team Canada is Knicks star RJ Barrett, who had a rough shooting night on 1-10 from the floor plus a few turnovers against France and Knicks G Evan Fournier.

Fournier, on the other hand, had an impressive outing, scoring 21 points despite enduring a blowout loss to Team Canada. Fournier did all he could for Team France scoring 19 of his 21 in the first half, but Team Canada persevered, outscoring France by 27 in the second half alone.

Barrett’s poor shooting night does not tell the entire story. With six rebounds and five assists, Barrett contributed his high IQ, impacting the game without scoring. Going into year five for Barrett, fans may read the boxscore as a letdown. However, Barrett’s consistency as a 2-way playmaker will garner him great success come the NBA season.