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No longer ‘Dream Team,’ Team USA carries chip on its shoulder


Austin Reaves (R) of Team USA embraces Anthony Edwards (L) after winning the FIBA ​​Basketball World Cup Group J match between USA and Montenegro at Mall of Asia Arena of Pasay, Metro Manila, on September 1, 2023. (Photo by JAM STA ROSA/AFP)

Tyrese Haliburton always seems to find himself in trouble during the Fiba World Cup (International Basketball Federation).

After answering questions about a controversial take by another American athlete questioning the legitimacy of National Basketball Association (NBA) title holders called world champions, Haliburton was asked about the idea that this American team current is nothing in comparison with the American national teams of before.

“People say Team USA isn’t the ‘Dream Team’ anymore. There’s no such thing as a superstar like LeBron (James) and (Steph) Curry,” a reporter said, asking Haliburton if the idea ignited a fire within the NBA-flavored squad that hopes to enter the Round of 16 undefeated. final with a victory on Sunday against Lithuania.

“I think we’re all guys who want to prove something in this league,” Haliburton said. “At the same time, we are all promising and we don’t have many veterans.”

Team USA has an average age of 24, only slightly younger than the 2019 squad which was nearly 26. Bobby Portis and Josh Hart are the oldest on the current squad, both 28 years old. Anthony Edwards, presented as the best man of the American team. On the United side, he is the youngest player at 22 years and a month while Haliburton is 23.

Both have been NBA All-Stars along with Jaren Jackson Jr. and Brandon Ingram, and some of the current roster — perhaps the popular Austin Reaves, for example — could be given the nod in future editions of the midseason classic. .

If the reporter’s question was seeking headline-worthy quotes that would generate a flood of reactions on social media, Haliburton certainly wasn’t shy about taking the bait. “I think we focus more on guys (with) something to prove in the league. We see this stuff, we use it as external motivation, of course. But we have something to prove, not just to outsiders. It doesn’t really matter, just knowing in ourselves that we are more than capable of winning basketball games.

Haliburton and the Americans are keen to prove once again that they can be world champions despite lacking star power against a Lithuanian team that is also 4-0 and a team that could challenge for the title.

But Lithuania are also determined to show that they are not just a stepping stone for any team in the tournament.

“We haven’t proven anything yet,” Jonas Valanciunas said after Lithuania fought hard for most of the competition before beating Greece, 92-67, in Friday’s other game. “We are still on a mission. We have to go further and further. »

Valanciunas, who will face one of his New Orleans Pelicans teammates at Ingram, considers the 8:30 p.m. game at the Mall of Asia Arena to be no different from games Lithuania have played in the competition before.

“Every match is special,” he said. “We fight and we leave everything on the pitch. It doesn’t matter what game it is. We will go out and fight.

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Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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