Team USA will visit Argentina’s Estadio Superdomo on Thursday to take on the host nation’s basketball team in the second round of Americas Qualifiers for the 2019 FIBA World Cup, to be held in China.
The game is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. ET. While it won’t be broadcast nationally on television anywhere in the US, you can still watch a live stream of the game on your computer, phone or streaming device via ESPN+, the new digital streaming service from ESPN that broadcasts dozens of different live sports and most of the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers.
You can sign up for a free 7-day trial of ESPN+ right here, and you can then watch a live stream of the game on your computer via ESPN.com, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the ESPN app.
If you can’t watch live, all games–including USA vs Argentina–that are streamed on ESPN+ are also available to be watched afterwards on-demand via ESPN.com or the ESPN app.
While Team USA’s usual stars play out the NBA regular season, the squad’s qualification for the World Cup rests in the hands of head coach Jeff Van Gundy and a group of fringe NBA players: Tyler Zeller, Joel Berry II, Richard Solomon, Reggie Hearn, Travis Trice, Eric Moreland, Jarnell Stokes, Scotty Hopson, DeAndre Liggins, Chasson Randle, John Jenkins, and Cameron Reynolds.
“I think our greatest strength is our depth,” Van Gundy said, according to FIBA. “Again, we’ve pretty much done this throughout (the Qualifiers). We play 10 or 11 guys, anywhere from 10 or 11 minutes up to the low 20’s. We try to take advantage of our depth.”
Hearn, a former standout at Northwestern University, leads the group that’ll take on Argentina in scoring, averaging 12.2 points in 22.5 minutes per game across five qualification contests. The 27-year-old currently plays for the Stockton Kings of the NBA G League. His only NBA experience came a season ago, when he got into three games for the Detroit Pistons.
Hearn told FIBA: “You could say I’m the poster child for this team, coming in to do these qualifying games and the AmeriCup, and that is something that has helped to catapult my own career.”
Barring disaster, both teams will qualify for the World Cup — seven of the 12 remaining teams will make it — but a win on Thursday would clinch a trip to China.
The Argentines have called upon 39-year-old guard and 2013 Argentine League MVP Paolo Quinteros to represent the nation for the first time since 2011.
“It was a great surprise to be called,” Quinteros told FIBA. “When I found out that I was among the twelve, I couldn’t believe it. I know the team’s commitment and challenges and I’m very happy to be a part of it after so long. After being left out of the Olympic Games in London, I’ve always wanted to be in the team and I always looked to see if I was being summoned. I always had hope, but I understood that the national team had to make changes and give opportunities to younger players. This is an acknowledgement to the sacrifices one makes during the season.”
Head coach Sergio Hernandez told FIBA that he values the veteran’s experience.
“He comes in in great physical shape and he will have a role with few minutes, which favors him,” Hernandez said. “This has been his job for 20 years. He’s used to being a franchise player.”
Argentine captain Luis Scola, who enjoyed a productive 10-year NBA career, leads his side in points (16.9) and rebounds per game (7.9).