U.S. opens FIBA World Cup with win over Czech Republic

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The U.S. men’s basketball team may not have any NBA superstars at the FIBA World Cup, but it still comfortably handled its first opponent, the Czech Republic, on Sunday in China.

The Americans overcame early shooting struggles to eventually cruise 88-67, kicking off a bid for an unprecedented third straight world title. They will also qualify for the Tokyo Olympics by finishing as one of the top two nations from North and South America.

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell had a team-high 16 points, while Kemba Walker, one of two 2019 NBA All-Stars on the roster, had 13. A full box score is here.

Next up on Tuesday is Turkey, the highest-ranked nation of the U.S.’ three opponents in the first round of group play. Turkey, ranked 17th, made the quarterfinals of the last three World Cups, including taking silver to the U.S. in 2010. Turkey’s roster includes NBA veteran Ersan Ilyasova.

The Americans wrap up opening group play on Thursday against Japan, which is already qualified for the Olympics as the host nation.

The top two teams from each group advance to a second phase of group play with four teams in four groups that determines the quarterfinalists.

MORE: FIBA World Cup schedule, results

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