Tyrese Haliburton dishes out 12 assists, leads Team USA to win in first exhibition game
USA Basketball's World Cup team has been together for just five days, played their first game on Monday and will soon head to Spain.
Tyrese Haliburton came off the bench for USA Basketball on Monday Night as the World Cup team played their only exhibition game on U.S. soil. Back in Las Vegas, the NBA’s unofficial offseason home, they defeated Puerto Rico 117-74.
This was their first of five tune-up games before they begin the Group Phase in just over two weeks on Aug. 26. After four days of practice, which included multiple scrimmages against the Select Team, this was their first chance to play against a different opponent and in a formal setting.
Inside T-Mobile Arena, USA Basketball started off slowly — which is entirely expected. They are not yet in game shape, are still experimenting with lineups and just starting to build team chemistry.
Indy product Jaren Jackson Jr. scored the first bucket, with his left hand off the glass.
The starters: Jalen Brunson, Anthony Edwards, Mikal Bridges, Brandon Ingram and Jackson Jr. And then Austin Reaves and Bobby Portis were the first two players off the bench.
With Team USA up 20-12, Haliburton — wearing No. 4 — made his first appearance with 2:26 left in the first quarter. Right away, he assisted on two buckets.
When Haliburton was out there, it was a much more enjoyable watch because of how he pushed the pace and rewarded those who ran with him as he always looked to throw it ahead. It was a lot more fluid and free-flowing. Teammates looked more comfortable, made purposeful cuts and are beginning to learn that Haliburton will find them no matter the angle.
He piled up six assists in his five minutes, including a throw-ahead pass that led to easy layup in transition.