MANILA, Philippines—After Team USA experienced its first loss in the Fiba World Cup, the memo was simple according to Tyrese Haliburton: respond the right way.
With just a day in between the loss to Lithuania on Sunday and their knockout quarterfinal match against Italy, the Americans responded big time with a 100-63 rout that sealed their entry into the World Cup semifinals.
“We just wanted to respond the right way. That’s the biggest thing, to come here and respond the right way,” said Haliburton, who plays for the Indiana Pacers, after the victory.
“We just wanted to be better with making teams feel defensively, being better with our presence and defending full court. We just try to play the right game for 40 minutes.”
The lanky guard also seemed to have taken the memo personally.
Haliburton was a huge spark off the bench as he finished with 18 points, five assists and four rebounds after he only finished with three markers in the squad’s loss to the Lithuanians.
NO MORE ‘FEAR FACTOR’
Heading forward, Haliburton knows the squad needs to be more emphatic in making their presence known.
That presence or “fear factor” after all is not evident anymore, according to Haliburton, and the loss against Lithuania certainly didn’t help the cause.
“That fear factor in playing the United States is not there anymore, obviously, it’s been talked about and documented for a while. We just got to play our style of basketball and things are going to go our way.”
Coming up next for the Americans are either Germany or Latvia, which shocked powerhouse France in the group phase in Jakarta, Indonesia.
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