Team USA upset with Greece’s Giannis Antetokounmpo, Thanasis Antetokounmpo

FIBA World Cup Preview Team USA tips off Round 2 vs. Giannis Greece	
				Streeter Lecka  Getty Images

FIBA World Cup Preview Team USA tips off Round 2 vs. Giannis Greece Streeter Lecka Getty Images

The MVP was good.

Milwaukee Bucks superstar and 2018-19 NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo finally chose to show up in the World Cup, notching 24 points in the winning effort while going to the free-throw line 15 times.

For the first time, a reigning NBA MVP will play against the US on a major worldwide stage. Yes, global basketball is a different game in many respects, but any success in China and beyond was always going to be dependent on him getting the space to blow through defenses. He didn't make himself available for postgame comment, telling officials that he was too upset.

But a win Monday would give the USA the group win and some added momentum before entering the knockout stage.

The Americans haven't lost in the biggest tournaments since.

Oooh... I love when tempers flare in worldwide play.

"It was a good test of us, it helped us get better", Popovich said. "That's our goal, to get better in every one of these games".

Greek players not named Giannis were 8-of-42 shooting through three (14-of-51, 27.5 percent for the game).

Even with Barnes on him to start, Antetokounmpo came out hungry. With the USA missing Jayson Tatum (ankle) and with Marcus Smart (quad) questionable, their defensive options have been limited.

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There was an small altercation involving Giannis and Jaylen Brown at the end of the game.

Sooner or later, Team USA is going to have to trim its rotation. Thanasis Antetokounmpo, Giannis' brother, fouled Harrison Banes really hard on a breakaway dunk. "Now it's time for him to increase the time (he plays) and everything in the game".

U.S.: Mitchell's birthday came a day after Joe Harris turned 28. He missed several weeks in August with a left calf strain. He stayed in the game.

Boding not so well for the USA, therefore, is the potential for a "Giannis Unleashed" kind of experience.

Australia 82, Dominican Republic 76: Australia, which had already clinched a place in next year's Olympics by being the top team in the World Cup out of Oceania, took away the Dominican Republic's chances of reaching the quarterfinals.

Reigning two-time champion the United States is building a head of steam and dismissed Brazil 89-73 to set up a quarterfinal with France on Wednesday.

Barnes, who was not injured by the foul, added: "The game was over; probably a frustration play". Otherwise, it was not a great game for the Americans offensively.

As expected, the US comfortably saw off Japan in the final game of Group E, winning 98-45. They'll need to do the same on Monday when they face Brazil.

Greece: Face the Czech Republic (3-1) in a second-round finale Monday in Shenzhen.

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