Pacers center Myles Turner and the USA Basketball Men’s National Team prevailed in their first exhibition game in preparation for next month’s FIBA World Cup, knocking off Spain on Friday night in Anaheim, 90-81.
After starting last week’s intrasquad scrimmage in Las Vegas, Turner came off the bench against the world’s second-ranked national team. The 23-year-old put together a solid effort, tallying eight points on 3-of-3 shooting, three rebounds, and two blocks in 15:25.
Turner checked into Friday’s game at the 6:35 mark, replacing starting center Mason Plumlee. He had a strong first shift, scoring six points in a 1:28 stretch.
It started when he corralled a Kyle Kuzma miss and put it back up and in with 2:58 remaining in the opening frame. 45 seconds later, Joe Harris dished to Turner for a dunk. On the United States’ very next possession, Turner drew a foul on Spain’s Pierre Oriola and converted both free throws to give the USA a 26-20 lead.
Turner returned to the floor late in the second quarter, playing the final 3:23 of the first half. The NBA’s leading shotblocker last season rejected Victor Claver with 3:07 left in the half and then converted a layup in the closing seconds to extend the Americans’ lead to 54-41 at halftime.
Turner started the second half and registered his second block early in the third quarter when he swatted away Marc Gasol’s layup attempt. He also started the fourth quarter, playing the first 4:04 of the frame before checking out for good.
PHOTO GALLERY: Myles Turner at 2019 USA Basketball Camp »
Spain scored the final six points to make the final margin single digits, but it was a comfortable win for Team USA. Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell led the team with 13 points and four rebounds. Bucks forward Khris Middleton added 12 points, three rebounds, and three assists, while Celtics guard Kemba Walker stuffed the stat sheet with 11 points, six rebounds, eight assists, and two steals.
Raptors center Gasol led all scorers with 19 points and also registered four rebounds, three assists, and two steals. Suns guard Ricky Rubio added 16 points, three rebounds, seven assists, and five steals.
After beginning training camp two weeks ago with 29 players, USA Basketball had just 14 for Friday’s exhibition after a series of cuts and withdrawals. Rockets forward P.J. Tucker dropped out of consideration for the final 12-man roster earlier on Friday after sustaining a minor ankle sprain in Thursday’s practice.
Head coach Gregg Popovich said all 14 remaining players will travel to Australia this weekend. The team plans to train in Melbourne and Sydney while playing three more exhibitions (two against Australia and one against Canada) before traveling to China, where they will open the World Cup against the Czech Republic in Shanghai on Sept. 1.
The gold medal game is scheduled for Sept. 15. The United States has taken home the gold in the past two iterations of the world championship, which were held in 2010 and 2014.