he U.S. men’s basketball team started the FIBA World Cup with a big 99-72 win against New Zealand in the Philippines.
Paolo Banchero, who is 20 years old, became the youngest American man to play in a World Cup in 17 years. He scored the most points in the game with 21. The last time an American man scored this many points in their first world championship game was Paul Pierce in 2002.
In the beginning, New Zealand was ahead in the second quarter. However, the U.S. team got ahead in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, they mostly let their main players rest: Jalen Brunson, Mikal Bridges, Anthony Edwards, Brandon Ingram, and Jaren Jackson Jr.
All the players on the U.S. team were playing in their first world championship under the leadership of coach Steve Kerr. He became the coach after Gregg Popovich, following the U.S.’s fourth consecutive Olympic win in Tokyo.
Next, the U.S. will play against Greece (without Giannis Antetokounmpo) on Monday. The top two teams from their group, which also includes Jordan, will move on to the next round.
The U.S. team wants to win the World Cup title again. In the last tournament in 2019, they came in seventh place, which was their worst result in a major tournament.