July 16, 2024

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Tatum, Holiday make their mark as USA beat Canada in exhibition game

Tatum, Holiday make their mark as USA beat Canada in exhibition game

BOSTON — Jayson Tatum and Jrue Holiday played a role in Team USA’s win over Canada at the U.S. Basketball Championship in Las Vegas on Wednesday night.

The United States overcame a slow start in the first of five warm-up games before the Paris Olympics to beat Canada 86-72. While Anthony Edwards led the Americans’ attack with 13 points and Steph Curry added 12, Tatum and Holiday left their mark on the win.

Holiday started the game alongside Curry, Devin Booker, LeBron James and Joel Embiid, but the star-studded group saw Canada go on an 11-1 run as Team USA missed its first six shots. Holiday missed a three-pointer and grabbed two defensive rebounds during that stretch before the game ended with the USA trailing 12-4.

Tatum made a quick impact when he came off the bench. He scored two steals, a layup and an assist on an Anthony Davis basket to close out the first quarter and help his team cut Canada’s lead to 21-14.

The USA settled down defensively and then picked it up offensively from there, outscoring Canada 27-12 in the second quarter to take a 41-33 halftime lead. Curry took control of the game in the opening minute of the third quarter, hitting two pointers from close range and three three-pointers in the opening minutes, and it was easy for the USA from there.

Tatum coming off the bench (along with the likes of Davis, Edwards and Bam Adebayo) highlights the embarrassment Team USA is in. He played 17 minutes and finished with eight points on 4-of-7 shooting, plus a rebound, a pair of assists, a steal and a block. He didn’t attempt a three-pointer in the game, instead imposing his power by attacking the rim.

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But Holiday’s impact was even greater, doing for Team USA what he did for the Boston Celtics throughout their title run. He was a big part of Team USA in the closing stages, continuing to push the offensive tempo and making some solid defensive plays. The playmaker scored nine points in the quarter, and finished with 11 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals over 20 minutes of play.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of Canada leads against Jrue Holiday of the United States in the first half of an exhibition match ahead of the Paris Olympics.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Team USA will have another Celtics star in the near future as well, with Derrick White is about to join the team. Kevin Durant was also absent from the US squad on Wednesday evening after suffering a calf injury.

The team’s Las Vegas camp has ended and they will now head to Abu Dhabi for two more friendlies (Australia on July 15 and Serbia on July 17) before moving on to London for two more matches (South Sudan on July 20 and Germany on July 22). The team will then head to Paris to begin their Olympic campaign against Serbia on July 28.