World Cup: Portis, Team USA Issues, Kessler, SGA, Brooks

Following Lithuania’s upset of Team USA, Bucks forward Bobby Portis said the team needs to have a short memory as it prepares to play Italy in the World Cup quarterfinals on Tuesday.

“One thing I learned about sports, nobody gonna feel sorry for you,” Portis said to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports and other media members. “Nobody gonna pat you on your back and sleep with you at night and say, ‘Hey man, it’s gonna be OK.’ Move on, get ready for the next opponent.”

The upset was fueled by Lithuania’s inside power and dominance of the boards. Lithuania outrebounded Team USA 43-27 and had a 17-2 edge in second-chance points.

“They outrebounded us, for sure,” Portis said. “I don’t have to look at that stat. I think that was kinda obvious.”

We have more from the World Cup:

  • Another thing Team USA needs is to get off to better starts, Fischer notes in the same story. Team USA was down as much as 21 in the first half. “We were on our heels that whole first half,” coach Steve Kerr said. “They were carving us up, and we definitely had some miscommunications.”
  • Jazz second-year big man Walker Kessler hasn’t seen much action for Team USA, though that could change, given its rebounding issues. Kessler is averaging 3.6 points and 6.1 minutes per game but he’s just happy to be on the roster, Aaron Falk of the Salt Lake Tribune relays. “I think that our team, all 12 of us are just unbelievably talented players,” he said. “All the guys are great guys. Regardless of who’s playing, we all cheer for each other. We all support each other. It just goes to show how deep we are. Anybody could have a good night on this team, and it’s a lot of fun to be part of.”
  • Canada clinched a spot in the Paris Olympics with its 88-85 win over Spain on Sunday. The victory was fueled by the Thunder’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and the Rockets’ Dillon Brooks, Eric Koreen of The Athletic notes. Gilgeous-Alexander had 30 points, seven assists and three steals. Brooks supplied 22 points and was also a defensive nuisance. “It’s something that’s almost indescribable,” SGA told Sportsnet in regards to Canada clinching an Olympic appearance for the first time since 2000.