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Paolo Banchero Leads The US To FIBA World Cup Win Over New Zealand

Banchero came off the bench to give Team USA a much-needed spark.

USA v New Zealand: Group C - FIBA Basketball World Cup
 MANILA, PHILIPPINES - AUGUST 26: Paolo Banchero #8 of USA shoots the ball during the FIBA Basketball World Cup Group C game between United States and New Zealand at Mall of Asia Arena on August 26, 2023 in Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines.
Photo by Ezra Acayan/Getty Images

The US had a ragged start against New Zealand in its first FIBA, falling behind in the first quarter before waking up.

And big part of why the US woke up was former Duke star Paolo Banchero, who came off the bench for 21 points, four rebounds and four blocks. He also shot 8-10 from the floor (and 2-2 from behind the line), hit 6-8 free throws - and did all this in less than 20 minutes.

The best analysis we’ve seen of this game is from ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, who also tells us that Banchero has been working with fellow former Blue Devil Chip Engelland, who has become a renowned shooting coach.

The US will play next on Monday against Greece, and that will be a good bit tougher than New Zealand.

On Sunday, these are the most interesting games to us: Australia takes on Germany, which could be really good. Canada plays Lebanon, and we’ll see if the Canadians can continue their hot start. But the best game might be France vs. Latvia, particularly since the French are probably still smarting from the beatdown Canada inflicted on them.