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World Cup Quarterfinals: USA Basketball Gets Second Chance

The US basketball team's loss to Lithuania in the World Cup has made them realize the pain of defeat.

In Manila, the U.S. World Cup team experienced a painful loss to Lithuania, giving them a taste of what it feels like to be defeated by a nation that has won four consecutive Olympic gold medals. This defeat served as a wake-up call for the Americans, who now understand the challenge they face in competing against teams that are eager to beat them.

The loss to Lithuania marked the end of the second round of the World Cup and brought the U.S.'s undefeated summer run to an end. As they prepare for their quarterfinal game against Italy, the Americans know that in order to win gold in Manila, they must win every remaining game.

The U.S. players expressed their disappointment and frustration at the loss, acknowledging that they need to improve in certain areas. They recognized the importance of starting games strong and not allowing their opponents to take an early lead. Rebounding was also identified as an area that needs improvement.

The American team has discussed what needs to change, but now it's time for action. They cannot afford to underestimate the competition they face. U.S. coach Steve Kerr emphasized the need for the players to feel the challenge they are up against and to approach each game with the appropriate level of fear.

Kerr himself has experienced similar situations in the past, having been part of coaching staffs that faced losses in previous tournaments. He knows that losses can ignite a fire within the team and lead to a stronger performance in the next game. He hopes to see that mentality from his players as they face Italy.

Although a win against Lithuania would not have changed the scenario of needing to win every game for gold, a loss can serve as a wake-up call for the team. U.S. captain Jalen Brunson acknowledged that they have no other choice but to respond to this loss and give their all in the remaining games.

Adding to the intrigue of the quarterfinal game against Italy is the personal story of American forward Paolo Banchero. Banchero had the option to play for Italy, given his Italian heritage, but ultimately chose to represent the U.S. due to his mother's history with the U.S. national team.

Looking ahead to the other quarterfinal matchups, Lithuania will face Serbia, with both teams having impressive performances so far. Germany will take on Latvia, with Germany being one of the two unbeaten teams in the tournament. Canada and Slovenia will also face off, featuring two All-NBA players in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Luka Doncic.

As the World Cup progresses, the competition intensifies, and each team must give their best to secure a spot in the semifinals. The road to gold is challenging, but the U.S. team is determined to overcome the obstacles and bring home the victory.

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