‘Madness’: USA’s miracle World Cup win
Team USA has pulled off a miracle against Turkey, coming back to win 93-92 in an epic World Cup match in Shanghai.
Turkey was incredible, never letting the Americans get away and even leading late in the game and in overtime.
Turkey, full of NBA stars of its own, put everything into the match with late free throws the difference.
But the US is the best for a reason and found its way back from an almost unwinnable position to maintain its incredible record.
Turkish NBA veteran and Milwaukee Bucks star Ersan Ilyasova scored the most important tip-in of his life with 12.3 seconds remaining in regular time to give his side an 81-79 lead.
The US went up the other end and missed two three-point shots before Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum was fouled outside the arc.
With three free throws, the 21-year-old Tatum scored his first, before missing his second. He held his nerve for the third and after four quarters, it was 81-all, sending the game to overtime.
The Turkish side showed its belief in OT, going ahead by five points early before the USA clawed its way back.
Turkey's Cleveland Cavaliers star Cedi Osman was then handed an and-one after being fouled when he scored with 50.1 second left to make it 92-91 to Turkey.
This game is madness. Kemba misses a 3, Cedi Osman drives past Myles Turner for an and-1, and now Turkey is up one with 50.1 seconds left.— Jay King (@ByJayKing) September 3, 2019
The USA looked to have one last chance but with nine second left, Turkey's Dogus Balbay stole the ball from Myles Turner with Turkey awarded an unsportsmanlike foul.
Bizarrely, he missed both shots. The US then fouled again, with Bugrahan Tuncer also missing both his shots and leaving the door slightly ajar.
The US rushed down the court with Bucks star Khris Middleton fouled and then draining both his shots from the charity stripe. Turkey's attempt at a buzzer beater didn't fall and Team USA escaped as a one-point winner.
It was an amazing win from America but for Fox Sports commentator and Boomers legend Shane Heal, it exposed the side's weaknesses.
"They were done. Not often do you get out of those situations that America did tonight," he said. "They will well and truly realise that they are in for a dogfight in the World Cup and they should not have won that game."
Heal said the result has shown the US is no longer the team to beat with Serbia taking the mantle as the Americans struggle to adapt to the international rules.
Social media agreed.
Serbia is going to be big, big trouble for Team USA, if that ends up being a matchup.— Jason Patt (@Bulls_Jay) September 3, 2019
Team USA could barely beat Turkey (and wouldn’t have if they made free throws). I highly doubt they can win it all.— Frederick Joseph (@FredTJoseph) September 3, 2019
Yup. Asked Pop about this in Australia.— Eric Nehm (@eric_nehm) September 3, 2019
Normally Team USA D swarms teams and gets an 10-15 points a game on the run. This team is not getting those easy buckets. https://t.co/KAYMAg0u79
Earlier, new Celtics signing Kemba Walker sank a buzzer-beating three from way downtown to take a four-point lead to three-quarter time as Turkey kept within striking distance of the Americans.
Kemba knows how to close a quarter. pic.twitter.com/8OPf38dmiT— Chris Forsberg (@ChrisForsberg_) September 3, 2019
In the fourth, it looked as though the USA was about to kick off but Turkey proved to be a thorn in its side.
Middleton led the Americans with 15 points and Walker scored 14.
Ilyasova led Turkey with 23 points, Melih Mahmutoglu had 18, Korkmaz scored 16 and Osman added 15.
The win clinched a second-round berth for the US but will also have the rest of the world on notice that the Americans are beatable.
The biggest worry for the US was an ankle injury to Tatum.
The US has a 56-2 record in preliminary games at World Cups, with its last loss coming in 1998 to Lithuania.
The side has also won its last 55 games in international tournaments, dating back to a 2006 World Cup semi-final loss to Greece.
The Americans have won 21 straight World Cup games in that time.