SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Isaiah Thomas knocked down three fast 3-pointers, displaying that his shot remains to be there.
Knocking off 12 months of rust wasn’t fairly as straightforward.
Thomas scored 19 factors in his first aggressive recreation in additional than a yr, serving to the U.S. to a 93-77 victory over the Bahamas on Friday in a FIBA AmeriCup qualifying recreation.
“My first time enjoying in a bit over a yr so I used to be a bit rusty, however it felt superb to be on the market competing in opposition to actually good gamers and in addition representing my nation,” Thomas mentioned.
The 32-year-old Thomas is a two-time NBA All-Star who scored 28.9 factors per recreation for the Boston Celtics within the 2016-17 season. However he suffered a hip harm late in that season and has by no means regained that type in restricted alternatives.
He determined to play for the Individuals partly as a showcase in hopes of incomes his approach again into the NBA, the place he most not too long ago performed for Washington final February.
Thomas — like many NBA gamers — had some bother adjusting to the ball and the best way the worldwide recreation is officiated. However he was happy together with his motion and conditioning and mentioned he’ll clear up his errors Saturday.
“The world is aware of I’ve bought what it takes. So ,it is nearly displaying that I’m wholesome,” Thomas mentioned. “My talent didn’t go wherever, it was nearly getting 100% wholesome, which I’m proper now.”
The 5-foot-9 guard shot the Individuals out to an 11-2 lead together with his three straight 3-pointers. However he additionally dedicated six turnovers that helped hold the Bahamas within the recreation far longer than anticipated, with one notably tough stretch within the second quarter when he had back-to-back turnovers after which a shot blocked.
U.S. coach Joe Prunty thought Thomas performed nicely.
“Sure, particular turnovers,” Prunty mentioned. “There have been sure issues defensively, assignments the place he had to combat by means of issues. Typically he did, typically he didn’t. That’s a part of our protection although when it comes to communication. It’s not at all times simply on one man.”
“However general I used to be very happy with how he moved on the ground. Was ready to get us in our offense for probably the most half, execute our offense and clearly make some pictures.
James Nunnally additionally scored 19 factors for the Individuals, They improved to 5-0 in qualifying play and may stay good by means of three home windows by beating Mexico on Saturday.
The U.S. has already clinched a berth within the AmeriCup match to be performed in 2022, however introduced a robust roster to San Juan that options eight gamers who’ve NBA regular-season expertise. Together with Thomas, the opposite noteworthy title was seven-time All-Star Joe Johnson, who completed with 11 factors, 9 rebounds and 6 assists.
Nonetheless, the U.S. led by solely 10 within the fourth quarter after beating the Bahamas by 40 within the November window. The lead was nonetheless simply 83-72 earlier than Thomas made a layup and 3-pointer to push it to 88-72 and the Individuals lastly coasted from there.
The qualifying video games have been added as a approach to give nationwide groups the chance to play residence video games, however all 4 groups in Group D are enjoying this weekend in San Juan in a bubble setup due to the coronavirus.
Brandon Bass completed with 12 factors and 10 rebounds for the U.S. However one other former NBA participant, Treveon Graham, left the sport with an obvious leg harm within the third quarter.
Travis Munnings scored 22 factors for the Bahamas (1-4).
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