Team USA is now 2-0 in the FIBA World Cup following a thrilling 93-92 win over Turkey in overtime.
Myles Turner ended his performance with 11 points (42.9% FG, 50% 3P, 80% FT), 9 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block, and 2 turnovers. The defensive impact that he provided throughout the game that doesn’t show in the box score was perhaps the most impressive part of his display.
The opening period of the game was the only quarter that Team USA held a positive scoring differential (26-21). They even managed to hold a 15-point advantage at the 5:33 mark of the second quarter and that ended up being their largest lead of the game.
Turkey managed to outscore Team USA by a 16-6 margin after Myles initially went to the bench midway through the second quarter. That run seemingly brought the game back to a nearly neutral state. Neither team managed to hold a lead greater than five points during the second half.
Team USA was outscored 39-34 during the second half and that left the score tied at the end of regulation. The final moments of regulation were quite dramatic and the overtime period certainly did not disappoint either. Turkey was hitting tough shots while Team USA overcame some critical mistakes.
“Stuff happens. They made tough shots. Every team goes on a run, they went on a pretty big run there. We capped it off at the end,” Myles said. “All that matters. JT, Kemba, Khris, a lot of guys made big plays down the stretch.”
The offensive end of the floor was a struggle for Team USA as a whole. They shot 27-of-77 (35.1%) from the field and committed 14 turnovers. Part of that can be attributed to Turkey utilizing a zone defense and alternating between a 2-3 zone while mixing in other schemes like a 2-2-1 and a 1-3-1.
“Every team wants to beat us,” he said. “Every team will give us their best shot. But more than anything, we stick together.”
Finding a way to win despite shooting poorly as a team usually comes from overcompensating for it on the defensive end of the floor and on the boards. That’s where Myles was able to make his greatest impact despite facing a matchup that was a greater shooting threat than what he faced against the Czech Republic.
A new group of players takes time to build chemistry together, especially in high stakes matchups playing a different style of basketball. This intense game was a great opportunity for Team USA’s players to become closer while working towards the same ultimate goal.
“Man, that was crazy. That was crazy. One of the best games I’ve ever been a part of,” he said.
This matchup was a great learning opportunity for Team USA. They were challenged as closely as possible without coming away with a loss. It won’t be easy to overcome mistakes against some of the top teams in the tournament and that’s why building chemistry in the early rounds is key.
Team USA is back in action on Thursday at 8:30 AM EDT when they face Japan led by Rui Hachimura.