Updated 05:26 PM EDT, Sun, Sep 26, 2021

Davis, Faried lead Team USA win over New Zealand

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Team USA remained unbeaten in the FIBA Basketball World Cup by dominating New Zealand 98-71 on Tuesday.  This brings the team up to three wins in the tournament so far and New Zealand to three straight losses.

Anthony Davis and Kenneth Faried have been standouts in the World Cup so far, and this game was no exception. Davis led the team with 21 points and nine rebounds while Faried contributed 15 points and 11 rebounds.  Additional standouts on Team USA included guards James Harden and Stephen Curry who scored 13 points and 12 points, respectively.

"I'm just playing out there," Faried said to ESPN. "I'm Just having fun. I'm just playing my game, having fun, enjoying life."

The Americans had struggled in game two against Turkey, facing a deficit for nearly three quarters before coming back in the fourth quarter to win the game. They would have no such trouble today, building up a lead early in the game and maintaining a fast pace for throughout to keep their opponents from establishing any sort of rally.

While they were disappointed in the loss, New Zealand players were grateful for a chance against the competition.

"It was pretty awesome getting to play against these guys. These are guys that we watch all the time," veteran forward Casey Frank said. "To be able to get out there on the court with them and have a little bit of success offensively, obviously the result didn't go our way, was pretty awesome."

New Zealand has struggled to find any semblance of succes duing their time in the World Cup. They are winless in group C so far in the competition.

That did not stop them from reflecting their culture in the game. As part of their pre \-game ritual the New Zealand team lined up to perform their haka, a traditional war dance challenge. Team USA was aware that the dance would be a part of their opponent's warm-up ritual and lined up to watch it. 

"We actually were going to shake hands with them afterwards because we knew that that was a really neat thing to do and it's part of their tradition." Team USA head coach Krzyzewski said. 

The U.S. displayed their energy not in the pre-game rituals but in the game. Denver Nuggets forward, Faried, shot five-for-five in the first half and finished the game shooting 81 percent.

The score was 27-20 after one quarter and would only be built upon from there. Team USA got into a transitional blur, as Faried and Davis capitalized on monster alley-oops that would set the tone for the rest of the game and net the team their third straight victory.

"It was a good, solid performance," Krzyzewski said. "I thought the intensity was excellent."

Team USA will meet with the Dominican Republic on Wednesday in the fourth game within their tournament group.

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