<
>

U.S. nears quarters after rout of Giannis, Greece

play
Team USA takes down Giannis, Greece (1:26)

Kemba Walker scores 15 points to help Team USA take down Giannis Antetokounmpo and Greece 69-53 in a second-round game at the World Cup. (1:26)

SHENZHEN, China -- Kemba Walker scored 15 points, Donovan Mitchell scored 10 on his 23rd birthday and Team USA contained NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, defeating Greece 69-53 in a second-round game at the FIBA World Cup on Saturday.

Harrison Barnes and Derrick White each scored nine for the U.S. (4-0), which can clinch a quarterfinal berth Monday in multiple ways. It needs either a win over Brazil or a Greece win over the Czech Republic or through a three-way tiebreaker, if necessary.

Antetokounmpo, the Milwaukee Bucks star, scored 15 points for Greece (2-2).

France and Australia reached the quarterfinals of the World Cup on Saturday. They join Serbia, Spain, Poland and Argentina, who have already reached the final eight.

The U.S. national team has won 57 consecutive games in international tournaments with NBA players, starting with the 2006 world championships bronze-medal game and continuing through every FIBA Americas, world championships, World Cup and Olympic event since.

The streak started after a 101-95 loss to Greece in 2006 -- a defeat that prompted the U.S. to change its program.

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

"I thought we played well," Walker said. "Stuck to the game plan."

Antetokounmpo's eyes were closed as he mouthed along with the words of Greece's national anthem. After the U.S. anthem played and the rosters from both sides met at midcourt for the customary pregame exchange of gifts, the NBA MVP shook hands with Bucks teammate Brook Lopez and gave him a quick hug.

Other than that, there was no pregame interaction between Antetokounmpo and the Americans.

He was aggressive from the jump, spinning his way to a layup on the first possession, making a 3-pointer on Greece's second possession and getting fouled on a baseline drive on the next trip down the floor.

That was five points in the first 43 seconds for Antetokounmpo. He scored four in his next 18 minutes of playing time.

The Americans kept a steady stream of different looks coming at the MVP -- who was guarded in the first half alone by Barnes, Khris Middleton, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Myles Turner. Brown and Smart, perhaps mindful of what Antetokounmpo did against their Celtics in last season's playoffs, held him scoreless in the half and the U.S. went into the break with a 38-25 lead.

Antetokounmpo had a steal and dunk late in the third, which got plenty of fans out of their seats and Greek fans waving flags. But the outcome was never in doubt, and the MVP was on the bench for the entire fourth quarter in a somewhat puzzling move.

TIP-INS

U.S.: Mitchell's birthday came a day after Joe Harris turned 28. ... Smart, who has twice missed time with leg injuries this summer, slipped and fell as he chased a loose ball out of bounds with 1:11 left in the first. He stayed in the game. ... The U.S. shot only 36%.

Greece: The outcome came five years to the day after the Greeks were ousted by Serbia in the Round of 16 at the 2014 World Cup. ... Nick Calathes became the third Florida player to be part of a loss to the U.S. this summer; Andrew Nembhard played for Canada in the Americans' pre-World Cup win in Australia; and Scottie Wilbekin played for Turkey in its overtime loss to the U.S. in the group stage.

HOLDING LEADS

Through four games, the U.S. has trailed for all of 7 minutes, 48 seconds -- out of a possible 165 minutes. The Americans have led for 147:02, and games have been tied for 10:10.

CLAMPING DOWN

The U.S. has held Japan and Greece to a combined 98 points in the last two games. That represents the fewest points the U.S. has allowed in consecutive games of a major international tournament since the 1988 Olympics, when the Americans gave up 92 in a two-game stretch against Egypt and Puerto Rico.

UP NEXT

U.S.: Plays Brazil (3-1) in a second-round finale Monday in Shenzhen.

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

FRANCE 78, LITHUANIA 75

At Nanjing, Evan Fournier led France with 24 points and Nando De Colo scored 21. France led 65-54 after three quarters and withstood a closing charge by Lithuania.

Jonas Valanciunas led Lithuania with 18 points and eight rebounds. Mantas Kalnietis scored 12.

CZECH REPUBLIC 93, BRAZIL 71

At Shenzhen, the Czech Republic kept itself in the hunt for a spot in the World Cup quarterfinals with an easy win over the previously unbeaten South Americans.

Tomas Satoransky scored 20 points, added nine assists and had seven rebounds for the Czechs (3-1), who will play Greece on Monday. Ondrej Balvin scored 15.

"It was another great victory for us,'' Satoransky said, with the team playing to its identity by "playing fast, running, sharing the ball and fighting on defense.''

Added coach Ronen Ginzburg: "It's an amazing time for us, for Czech Republic basketball. It's a great win.''

Vitor Benite scored 12 for Brazil (3-1), which will face the U.S. on Monday in the second-round finale for both teams. Leandro Barbosa and Marcelinho Huertas each scored 11 for Brazil.

AUSTRALIA 82, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 76

At Nanjing, 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.

Australia (4-0) was led by Patty Mills of the San Antonio Spurs with 19 points and nine assists. Chris Goulding added 15 with 13 from Jock Landale. Eloy Vargas led the Dominicans with 16 points and Victor Liz added 14.

TOKYO OLYMPICS

Australia joins Japan as the two qualified teams for Tokyo. Japan is in as the host nation. Six more teams for the 12-team Olympic field will be decided from the World Cup.

3-POINT RECORD

Canada set a FIBA World Cup (and world championship, its predecessor) single-game record for 3-pointers made, hitting 24 of them in a 55-point win over Jordan.

The previous record was 19, accomplished twice, both times by the U.S. in 1994 -- first against Puerto Rico, then again against Russia. The second-highest total at this World Cup was 18, done Saturday by New Zealand against Japan.

CLASSIFICATION ROUND

New Zealand (2-2) 111, Japan (0-4) 81

Canada (2-2) 126, Jordan (0-4) 71

Turkey (2-2) 79, Montenegro (0-4) 74

Germany (2-2) 89 vs. Senegal (0-4) 78