Steve Kerr Explains Pulling out Lakers Fan-Favorite in Team USA’s First Loss

Steve Kerr, Warriors, Team USA

Getty Head coach Steve Kerr (C) of the United States reacts towards referees after the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2nd Round Group J loss to Lithuania.

Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr shielded Los Angeles Lakers‘ rising guard Austin Reeves from criticisms after his brutal outing in Team USA’s 110-104 loss to Lithuania on Sunday.

Reeves, a fan-favorite in the Philippines, became Lithuania’s target as they repeatedly posted him up and feasted on him.

“I took him out because of the foul trouble,” Kerr said of Reeves. “So they posted him out. They’re a very strong team and they have a lot of their guys trying to back us down and post us up. It just wasn’t Austin’s night. You know you got a couple of plays down there that he’d liked to have back, I’m sure, but not worried about Austin.”

Reeves has been one of the leaders of Team USA’s second unit that has been dominant and at times and helped overcome a slow start by their starting five. But they were outsized and outmatched against the taller and more physical Lithuanians.

Team USA’s bench had a negative impact for the first time in the tournament, as they were a collective minus-23 in the loss. Reeves left the game with five fouls on a minus-8 outing with only seven points on 1-of-4 shooting and nothing else to show on the stats sheet.

In a damning moment for Reeves, Lithuania’s 6-foot-6 Vaidas Kariniauskas stuck his tongue out at the Lakers guard after drawing a foul on a 3-point play.

“Nothing personal, just love of the game. I played with [Reaves’ brother, Spencer], so I talked to him before the game and he said, ‘give [Austin] a trash talk,” Kariniauskas said. “So I give him some.”

The loss was first for Kerr in his tenure as Team USA head coach, but he welcomed it as they head into the knockout rounds, drawing a lighter opponent in the quarterfinals with Italy. Lithuania’s victory earned them the right to face another European powerhouse, Serbia.

“I hate losing, I probably won’t sleep much tonight,” Team USA coach Steve Kerr said. “But for us to get better, we needed to feel this. We needed to respond the way we did.”

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McGee was recently stretched and waived by the Dallas Mavericks after he did not pan out as they hoped, even with his forged relationship with their coach, Jason Kidd, at the Orlando bubble during the Lakers’ championship run.

Klay Thompson Will Seriously Consider Playing for Bahamas

Warriors star forward Klay Thompson will seriously consider playing for the Bahamas, his father’s home country, starting in the Olympic qualifying tournament next summer.

“When that time comes, I’ll give it serious consideration just because of what the Bahamas has meant to the Thompson family, especially my father,” Thompson told Manila reporters during his Asian Tour for sportswear brand Anta in the Philippines.

The Bahamas recently made history after beating Argentina twice to earn a shot at qualifying for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

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