BOSTON — Team USA got all it could handle before escaping with a 93-92 overtime win over Turkey.
Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton made a pair of free throws with 2.1 seconds to play that proved to be the difference.
But as much as the focus of the game will be on Team USA’s near-loss, they suffered a setback of sorts even with the victory.
Boston’s Jayson Tatum suffered a left ankle injury while driving to the basket for what eventually turned into Middleton’s game-winning free throws.
He quickly stood up and tried to walk it off.
But once he got to the sideline, he had to be helped by Team USA officials back to the locker room.
Tatum’s injury as you can imagine not only impacts Team USA but also the Boston Celtics, who come into this season anticipating the third-year forward taking on an even greater role than he had a year ago.
And on many levels, the World Cup has shown the growth in Tatum’s game which is now about more than just 3-pointers and step-back jumpers.
We have seen him come up with some impressive blocks as a help-side defender.
On pick-and-rolls, his defense on guards or bigs who try to post him up, has been as good as any frontcourt player on Team USA’s roster.
And it was all the more impressive against Turkey which has a number of NBA players, led by Ersan Illyasova, a crafty veteran forward who is also Turkey’s best player.
But like every game Team USA plays, the impact of Team Shamrock — Tatum, Kemba Walker, Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown — is hard to ignore.
Here’s a look at how each fared in Tuesday’s game.
By no means was this one of Kemba Walker’s best games as he finished with 14 points while playing a team-high 31 minutes, 57 seconds. But he came up with some big baskets in the overtime period in addition to forcing turnovers by way of steals or drawing offensive fouls against Turkey. In addition to the 14 points, he also had six rebounds and seven assists.
The severity of the left ankle injury Jayson Tatum suffered in the closing seconds of overtime casts a cloud of sorts on a game in which Tatum redeemed himself for not putting the game away sooner. He had a chance to end the game in regulation when he was fouled on a 3-point attempt with 0.1 seconds to play and Team USA trailing by two points at the time. He missed the second of the three attempts leading to overtime. But in the extra session, Tatum made a number of plays at both ends of the floor, including his final dish to Khris Middleton who drew the foul and went to the line for what turned out to be the game-winning free throws. Tatum, who played the second-most minutes (31:01) to Walker, had a double-double of 11 points, 11 rebounds and 3 assists.
The impact of Marcus Smart on this game was minimal, although the 3-pointer he hit in the first half was certainly a plus as it came about with them trying to trap Team USA. He would finish with five points.
At no point did Jaylen Brown seem to get into any kind of flow or rhythm against Turkey, finishing with just one point and one rebound while seeing just six minutes and 12 seconds of action. Of the 11 players used by Team USA (Mason Plumlee did not play), Brown played the fewest minutes.
Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.