The first mission for the U.S. is complete: The Americans are going to the Tokyo Olympics.
And now the World Cup quarterfinals await.
Kemba Walker and Myles Turner each scored 16 points, and the Americans earned a top seed for the quarterfinals by beating Brazil 89-73 on Monday in the final second-round game of the FIBA World Cup.
The U.S., bidding to become the first nation to win three consecutive World Cups, will face France on Wednesday — and won’t have to go through any extra qualifying tournament next summer for the Olympics.
“We’re thrilled that we’ve qualified for the Olympics,” said U.S. coach Gregg Popovich, who will lead the Americans in Tokyo next summer as well. “With this new situation in qualifying, you don’t want to do that every year. That’s a pretty big grind.”
It was a win three nations could celebrate: The U.S. victory also clinched an Olympic spot for Argentina and a quarterfinal spot for the Czech Republic. The Czechs moved on despite losing earlier Monday to NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and Greece.
France awaits the U.S. on Wednesday in the quarterfinals. Other quarterfinal matchups: Spain vs. Poland and Serbia vs. Argentina on Tuesday, and Australia vs. the Czech Republic on Wednesday.
The only way to stay in the mix for gold now is to keep winning. That’s the approach the Americans — likening the World Cup feel to that of the NBA Finals — have carried throughout the tournament anyway.
“Pop talked about how this is June, this is June basketball,” U.S. guard Joe Harris said. “That’s what our mentality has got to be like.”
Jaylen Brown scored 11, and Harrison Barnes added 10 for the U.S. (5-0).
Greece 84, Czech Republic 77
At Shenzhen, Greece needed to win by 12 to have a chance of advancing. The Greeks did lead by that much early in the final quarter but could not hold the margin.
Nick Calathes scored 27 points to lead Greece, with 16 more coming from Kostas Sloukas. Antetokounmpo had 12 points and nine rebounds but also fouled out on a disputed call.
Jaromir Bohacik scored 25 to lead the Czech Republic, while Patrik Auda and Tomas Satoransky added 13 each.
Australia 100, France 98
Patty Mills of the San Antonio Spurs scored 30 points to lead Australia, and Joe Ingles scored 23. Aron Baynes added 21 for Australia’s three-man show.
Evan Fournier scored 31 in the losing effort for France, and Nando De Colo added 26.
Lithuania 74, Dominican Republic 55
At Nanjing, both Group L teams were already eliminated from reaching the quarterfinals. Lithuania (3-2) was led by Jonas Valanciunas and Lukas Lekavicius, each with 19 points. Valanciunas also grabbed 10 rebounds.
Rigoberto Mendoza scored 14 points to lead the Dominican Republic (2-3).
Other FIBA World Cup results
Montenegro 80, Japan 65
Jordan 79, Senegal 77
New Zealand 102, Turkey 101
Germany 82, Canada 76
FIBA World Cup Schedule
Argentina (5-0) vs. Serbia (4-1)
Spain (5-0) vs. Poland (4-1)