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2023 FIBA World Cup: United States cruises past Greece with balanced effort; Luka Dončić scores 34 points in Slovenia's blowout win

Jalen Brunson and the United States dominated their group stage win over Greece. (Photo by Ezra Acayan/Getty Images)
Jalen Brunson and the United States dominated their group stage win over Greece. (Photo by Ezra Acayan/Getty Images)

The United States booked its ticket to the second round of the FIBA World Cup with a 28-point win over Greece on Monday. The Americans took a four-point lead after the first quarter and never relented in the easy 109-81 win.

The U.S. clinched first place in its group with the win, securing its spot in the second round.

More interesting than the win, perhaps, was the balanced performance. All but one of the team's 12 players saw at least 13 minutes of action and nine scored at least six points.

Los Angeles Lakers guard Austin Reaves led the team with 15 points in 17 minutes of work, while New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson and Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards scored 13 each. Knicks guard Josh Hart added a game-high 11 rebounds as well.

The U.S. shot 67% on 2-point attempts and 42% from 3-point range.

Without much competition from Greece, the U.S. could afford to give some of its role players more time on the court. Head coach Steve Kerr leaned on his starters in Saturday's win over New Zealand and the help of Paolo Banchero off the bench, but backups like Reaves, Hart, Tyrese Haliburton and Bobby Portis saw extended action with the lead and the game safely in hand for the Americans.

Dončić powers Slovenia past Georgia

Luka Dončić put on a vintage performance Monday during Slovenia's 88-67 win over Georgia. The Dallas Mavericks star scored a game-high 34 points with 10 rebounds and six assists to power his country to the top of its group.

Slovenia opened up hot with a 14-2 lead in the first four minutes. But Georgia returned fire with a 15-2 run to end the first quarter with a slim lead. Both teams battled back-and-forth throughout the second half before a Slovenia closed out the first half with a 45-33 lead.

Dončić played well throughout the contest but took over in the third as Slovenia continued to pull away. He scored 10 points with five rebounds and two assists as Slovenia entered the fourth quarter with a 13-point lead.

Slovenia went on a 12-0 run to open the fourth quarter to build an insurmountable lead.

Dončić and his fellow countrymen face Cape Verde in their final group stage match. Cape Verde is the smallest nation to play in the FIBA World Cup and won its first game ever against Venezuela earlier Monday.

No Jokić, no problem for Serbia

Serbia continued its dominance Monday by beating Puerto Rico 94-77. NBA Finals MVP Nikola Jokić already announced in July he would miss the FIFA World Cup after he led the Denver Nuggets to the franchise's first title.

Miami Heat forward Nikola Jović and Atlanta Hawks guard Bogdan Bogdanović led Serbia with 17 points each. Jović tallied 11 of his 17 points in the first quarter and hit 3-of-5 from 3-point range. He added three rebounds and four assists. Bogdanović, meanwhile, had five rebounds and five assists.

Serbia led the game from start to finish with a 27-15 lead after the first quarter before it ballooned to 57-27 by halftime. Puerto Rico crawled back to within 17 points by the end of the third, but that's as close as it would get.