Kemba Walker, Donovan Mitchell Lead Team USA Past Spain in World Cup Tune-Up

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorAugust 17, 2019

ANAHEIM, CA  - AUGUST 16:  Kemba Walker #26 of Team USA handles the ball against Team Spain on August 16, 2019 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE  (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

Donovan Mitchell scored 13 points, Khris Middleton added 12 and Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum each contributed 11 as Team USA defeated Spain 90-81 in a tune-up prior to the FIBA World Cup.

Walker added eight assists, six rebounds and two steals. Tatum had five rebounds, four assists and two steals.

Marc Gasol had 19 points, four boards and two blocks for Spain, and Ricky Rubio pitched in 16 points, seven assists and five steals. Sergio Llull contributed 11 points and six dimes.

Team USA's red-hot shooting at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California led to them knocking down 54.8 percent of their field goals.

Jonathan Givony of ESPN gave due credit for their early offensive performance:

Jonathan Givony @DraftExpress

Fun game underway between USA and Spain. US players came out with urgency and showing they don't lack anything in the way of skill with their ball-movement, perimeter shooting and ability to get good looks early in the clock. Kemba Walker and Khris Middleton have been awesome.

The Americans attacked everywhere on the court in a variety of ways.

Walker went coast-to-coast, used a hesitation move and put home an easy two:


Kemba Walker hesitates baseline to get @usabasketball on the board! #USABMNT #USAGotGame 🇺🇸 vs. 🇪🇸 📺: @NBATV 📱💻: https://t.co/gWSXqaO9Vj https://t.co/IGA4eCNVL6

Mitchell and Tatum also both sliced into the lane for hammer jams:


Donovan Mitchell attacks and TAKES FLIGHT for @usabasketball! #USABMNT 📺: @NBATV 📱💻: https://t.co/gWSXqaO9Vj https://t.co/fDmCCycEdC


Jayson Tatum turns the corner and drops the HAMMER on @NBATV/@Twitch! 🇺🇸😤 #USABMNT #USAGotGame https://t.co/p5YlZTQEz0

And the team hit 11 of 19 three-pointers, with Middleton, Tatum and Mitchell each netting a pair.

The USA also grabbed more than twice as many boards, winning the battle on the glass 42-20.

On the flip side, the Americans were at times careless with the ball, committing 23 turnovers. John Schuhmann of NBA.com noted a particularly rough stretch in the early third quarter:

John Schuhmann @johnschuhmann

6 turnovers on USA's first 9 possessions of the 3rd quarter.

As for Spain, Gasol led all scorers thanks to his efficient 7-of-13 performance. Rubio's all-around effort on both ends was impressive. This fallaway jumper plus the foul may have been his most impressive play:


🇪🇸 @rickyrubio9 with the @BaloncestoESP bucket, plus the foul! https://t.co/rH7oWRuiM9

However, the USA proved too tough and cruised to the nine-point win. Givony provided his closing thoughts:

Jonathan Givony @DraftExpress

Good performance from US taking down Spain 90-81. Coaching staff went deep into the bench but Kemba Walker looks like an absolute monster in int'l basketball and US has a great core with him, Donovan Mitchell and Khris Middleton. Turnovers the main thing to clean up in short term https://t.co/ha1vNIskV6

The Americans now must cut their roster down from 14 to 12 prior to FIBA World Cup play.

James Ham @James_HamNBCS

According to head coach Gregg Popovich, all 14 remaining finalists are heading to Australia on the flight tomorrow.

Schuhmann provided an educated guess regarding players who might be on the bubble: 

John Schuhmann @johnschuhmann

My best guess (if Smart is healthy) is that there's 1 roster spot for either Harris or White & that there are 3 spots for Kuzma, Lopez, Plumlee & Turner.

Team USA will train in Australia and China before tipping off their World Cup slate against the Czech Republic on Sept. 1. The Americans also play Turkey and Japan as part of Group E play.

Spain will open its World Cup slate on Aug. 31 against Tunisia.