Giannis Antetokounmpo and Greece were no match for the U.S. at the FIBA World Cup.
The Americans withstood Antetokounmpo’s hot start — and 15 points and 13 rebounds overall — to prevail 69-53 in Shenzen, China, moving closer to a quarterfinal spot.
Antetokounmpo, the NBA MVP trying to lead Greece to its first Olympic men’s basketball berth since 2008, won the jump ball and scored five points in the first 43 seconds. The lead changed hands through the first few minutes before the U.S. took control en route to its fourth win in as many games.
The U.S. will earn a place in the last eight, and possibly get Olympic qualification out of the way, by beating Brazil in its last group-play game Monday. It could still advance by tiebreaker if it loses to Brazil.
France or Australia waits in the quarterfinals.
The top two teams from the Americas clinch Olympic spots. The U.S., Brazil and Argentina are the lone nations remaining vying for them, but the odd team out gets another chance to earn a spot in Tokyo at a last-chance qualifying tournament next year.
Greece must beat the Czech Republic on Monday and have the U.S. beat Brazil to have any chance to advance to the quarterfinals and keep hope alive of avoiding the last-chance Olympic qualification tournament.
Greece was the last nation to beat the U.S. at the FIBA World Cup, doing so with zero NBA players in the semifinals in 2006.
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