U.S. stomps Luka Doncic-less Slovenia in World Cup warmup game


MALAGA, Spain — Anthony Edwards led a balanced effort with 15 points, Jalen Brunson added 11 points and eight assists, and the U.S. World Cup team beat Slovenia 92-62 on Saturday in an exhibition game.

Austin Reaves and Tyrese Haliburton both scored 10 for the Americans, who improved to 2-0 on their five-game slate of exhibitions before getting to the Philippines for the World Cup. The U.S. opened exhibition play Monday with a 117-74 win over Puerto Rico in Las Vegas.

All-NBA guard Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks was held out of Saturday’s game as a precaution. He scored 17 points in Slovenia’s 99-79 loss to Spain on Friday and missed some of that game after an awkward landing on a drive.

All 12 U.S. players scored, and five finished with seven to nine points. Mikal Bridges scored nine, Cam Johnson, Paolo Banchero and Bobby Portis each had eight and Brandon Ingram had seven for the winners.

The starters for the U.S. were the same for the second consecutive game: Brunson, Edwards, Bridges, Ingram and Jaren Jackson Jr. Josh Hart also made his USA Basketball debut Saturday after missing Monday’s game while signing his four-year extension with the New York Knicks.

The U.S. plays Spain — a matchup of the world’s two top-ranked nations according to FIBA, which has Spain atop that list — in another exhibition on Sunday.

“One more stage of our preparation against the strongest rival in the world,” Spain coach Sergio Scariolo said.

After Sunday, the U.S. team flies to the United Arab Emirates for games in Abu Dhabi against Greece (Friday) and Germany (Aug. 20).

From there, it’s on to Manila. The World Cup will be held in the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia; the U.S. will be in Manila for the entire the tournament, and opens against New Zealand on Aug. 26, followed by Greece on Aug. 28 and Jordan on Aug. 30.

If all goes right, this weekend could be the only instance of back-to-back games for the U.S. on its World Cup trip. Next week’s games in Abu Dhabi are separated by an off-day, and no group stage games at the World Cup are back-to-backs. The quarterfinals, semifinals and medal games all are preceded by off-days as well.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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