Anthony Edwards scored 22 points and the US completed an easy march through the first stage of the Fiba Basketball World Cup on Wednesday, beating Jordan 110-62 to improve to 3-0 and finish atop Group C. Second-round play for the Americans starts on Friday against Montenegro.
“Staying aggressive, staying confident, it’s just something that I do,” Edwards said. “It paid off today.”
Bobby Portis scored 13 for the US, who led by 19 after one quarter and 62-33 at the half. Jaren Jackson Jr scored 12 and Jalen Brunson added 10.
“It’s always fun when everybody gets to play and contribute,” USA coach Steve Kerr said.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson – the only player with any NBA experience on Jordan’s roster – led his team with 20 points and seven rebounds. Jordan finished group play 0-3 and will play in the classification round for non-second-round teams starting on Thursday.
The US improved to 8-0 overall this summer, counting five exhibitions played on the way to Manila. They’re one of three teams who have won all three group-stage games by at least 20 points – joining Group H winner Canada and Group D winner Lithuania, who will face the Americans in the second-round finale on Sunday.
“We tried to slow them down as much as possible,” Jordan coach Wesam Al-Sous said. “We failed. They scored 110 points.”
Hollis-Jefferson has tried to fashion his game – not to mention his current haircut, it seems, since there is a striking similarity – after Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, even wearing No 24 on his jersey at the World Cup.
If this was his audition to get back to the NBA, after not playing in the league since June 2021, it wasn’t bad. He had 66 points in Jordan’s first two games at the World Cup, then shot six for 16 on Wednesday – while again getting the occasional “Kobe! Kobe!” chants from some in the crowd in Manila.
Hollis-Jefferson spent a short stint with Edwards in Minnesota before the start of the 2020-21 season. Hollis-Jefferson never played a regular-season game with the Timberwolves, but Edwards remembered their time together.
“He was kind of like my vet when I was a rookie,” Edwards said. “We haven’t seen each other since then, so it was fun to catch up.”