USA wins 7th place game in World Cup with Smart, Walker, Tatum sidelined

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Team USA wrapped up a disappointing tournament in the FIBA World Cup on Saturday with a victory, defeating Poland 87-74 in the seventh-place game. The Americans played with just nine active players as Marcus Smart (quad), Jayson Tatum (ankle) and Kemba Walker (neck) all sat due to injury in the eighth and final game of the USA run. Jaylen Brown finished with 8 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists in 20 minutes of action off the bench as the Americans built a 17-point first-half lead and did not look back against Poland.

Walker told reporters in China that he expects to be ready for the start of training camp in Boston on October 1st after suffering a neck injury earlier this week. The All-Star reflected on his time with Team USA after the win.

"It’s been great," Walker said of the experience. "Obviously, when we lost, we were pretty down, still having to play two extra games. You know, it just shows the character of the guys that’s been there. That’s how it’s been from day one. Just being able to have the chance to get around a great group of guys, it just made the trip that much more special."

Greg Popovich actively defended his team after they dropped a pair of games to France and Serbia earlier this week against criticism of the 7th place finish in the World Cup.

"Like we should be ashamed because we didn't win the gold medal?" Popovich said. "That's a ridiculous attitude. It's immature. It's arrogant, and it shows that whoever thinks that doesn't respect all the other teams in the world and doesn't respect that these guys did the best they could."

Major changes will likely be coming to the USA roster ahead of the Olympics next summer and it's unclear