Despite not being able to field their best squad, the Americans are still one of the top contenders to lift the hardware. Their second matchup of the 2019 FIBA World Cup saw them going head-to-head against Cedi Osman and Turkey, in what turned out to be a stirring encounter with every possession.
Eventually, the men in blue and white edged past their opponents for a gritty, yet nervy, 93-92 win, much to the delight to NBA fans worldwide - who'd have hated to see them go down in the group stages.
Let's skim through a bunch of prominent takeaways from this rousing USA-Turkey clash.
#1 The resilient never-die NBA approach prevails as Turkey choke down the stretch
Despite USA leading for the most part of the game, they had a hard time creating any noticeable separation in the dying moments. Ironically, they ended up being the enforcers of OT when they found themselves 2 points down and not much time left in regulation.
We can only imagine what could have been, had Turkey not missed four free throws in a row when it mattered the most. Those couple of misses each in overtime by Dogus Balbay and Cedi Osman meant USA had a chance to seal this one for good.
Tatum slipped on the next play before passing the ball to Middleton who got fouled trying to get to the hole. He iced both the FTs, getting his team ahead 93-92 with just 2 seconds left on the clock. Turkey couldn't conjure what could have been a heroic comeback and the basketball gods had orchestrated a miraculous save for the ailing Team USA.
The elite poise shown by Pop's men under pressure was trademark of their professional backgrounds.
Tatum has been diagnosed with a sprained left ankle and will be re-evaluated tomorrow.