Team USA will be taking on Team Italy one game removed from their very first loss of the 2023 FIBA World Cup. A lot of fingers were unfortunately pointed at Austin Reaves seeing that he scored only seven points, could not get a board or an assist and eventually fouled out.
Out of his six official tournament games with the US, this was really the first where he struggled and he specifically was trying to draw contact but could not get the calls he was looking for from the officials. Star teammate Anthony Edwards kept them in the game with his 35-point outburst but Team USA eventually fell to Lithuania 110-104.
Lithuania simply shot the lights out as they connected on 56 percent of their shots from deep and 52 percent from all around the court. Luckily, our favorite stars repping the US remain in the tournament thanks to all of their previous wins and also qualified for the 2024 olympics, but their current goal remains to win the World Cup.
To add on to the Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard’s struggles, he also was involved in a play where he was caught in the block guarding Lithuania’s big man Vaidas Kariniauskas and gave up an and-one.
Kariniauskas was caught on camera staring down Reaves after the play and the picture and highlight both soon went viral.
These types of plays happen to the best of players at all levels of basketball and just like Reaves has been on the opposite of highlights, defending great players means that there is a chance you get scored and even taunted.
Team USA and Reaves have targets on their back every time they take the floor this summer and they just need to stick to their game plan and fight through moments like these. With how hot Lithuania was on offense, the US remained in the mix and their focus now shifts to their 5:40 am PT match against Italy tomorrow.
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Noel is currently in his third year at California Polytechnic University of Pomona and is pursuing a B.A. in Communications with an emphasis in Multi-Media Journalism. He has always had a deep passion for sports and writing.