OKINAWA (dpa) – Olympic champion USA and co-favorite Slovenia are off to a strong start at the Basketball World Championships in Asia. Head coach Steve Kerr’s American team beat outsiders New Zealand 99:72 (45:36) in Manila.
With 22 points, NBA youngster Paulo Banchero was the team’s best pitcher, which had to fight a lot six days ago in a 99:91 victory over Germany in Abu Dhabi. Against New Zealand, the USA trailed 4:14, but then made significant strides.
Meanwhile, star player Luka Doncic made his World Cup debut and led his Slovenians to their first win in the opening round in Okinawa. The 24-year-old Dallas Mavericks guard scored 37 points in Saturday’s 100-85 (56-51) win over Venezuela. With the absence of a host of stars such as Nikola Jokic (Serbia), Giannis Antetokounmpo (Greece) and Kevin Durant (USA), Dancic is seen as a key leader at this World Cup in Okinawa, Indonesia and the Philippines. Japan. He already bested his Olympic debut in 2021 with 48 points.
Slovenia is a possible intermediate round opponent of the German team. Next Friday or Sunday the fight will be between Danzi and Germany. Only the top two teams from the two groups will advance to the finals, which will be held in Manila and begin with the quarterfinals. Slovenia holds three potential group opponents in Venezuela, Cape Verde and Georgia.
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