Lakers Highlights: Austin Reaves Shines In Team USA’s Win Over New Zealand To Kick Off FIBA World Cup

As was the case in all of their exhibition games, Los Angeles Lakers guard Austin Reaves shined for Team USA coming off the bench in their 2023 FIBA World Cup opening win over New Zealand.

Steve Kerr has stuck with his starting lineup of Jalen Brunson, Anthony Edwards, Mikal Bridges, Brandon Ingram and Jaren Jackson Jr., but it was again the bench unit that provided a spark in the 99-72 win over New Zealand.

Reaves led the way, getting off to a hot start and finishing with 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting (2-of-2 from 3-point range) to go along with six assists, three steals and two rebounds. He only played 22 minutes but was a plus-19.

12 pts (4-6, 2-2 3pt), 6 asts, 3 stls, 2 rebs – Team USA cruised to victory over New Zealand (as they should), 99-72.

In addition to Reaves, Paolo Banchero and Tyrese Haliburton both had great games off the bench for Team USA. Banchero, who has been serving as a small-ball center, led the team with 21 points on 8-of-10 shooting with four rebounds and four blocks.

Meanwhile, Haliburton continued to provide a little bit of everything with 10 points, four rebounds, three assists, three steals and a block. Anthony Edwards led the starting unit with 14 points, seven rebounds, three assists and a steal.

Even though Team USA’s second unit has had a ton of success, head coach Steve Kerr said after the game that he isn’t planning on making any changes to the starting lineup, wanting to keep the same groups together with the Americans being 6-0 overall including exhibition play.

Up next for Reaves and Team USA

Reaves and Team USA will take the court again on Monday at 5:40 a.m. PT when they take on Greece, who they already blew out in an exhibition game.

Group play will then continue on Wednesday at 5:40 a.m. PT against Jordan, another team USA should not have a problem with.

The group play games are taking place in Manila, Phillipines, where there obviously are a ton of Lakers fans which means Reaves has gotten a lot of love, consistently receiving the biggest ovation of all the Team USA players.

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