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Isaiah Thomas made sure USA Basketball’s road to the 2023 World Cup didn’t begin with a major upset. Thomas scored 21 points, including a sealing 3-pointer with 13.3 seconds left, and the Americans erased a seven-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat Cuba 95-90 on Sunday in their World Cup qualifying opener. “It’s an honor and a privilege to put USA on your chest,” the 32-year-old Thomas said. “So, anytime USA Basketball comes calling, I’m always going to be for it. We have a great group of guys, a great coaching staff, and it was fun to be out there. It was a great game. It was a tough game for us.”
Popovich is a U.S. Air Force Academy graduate, considered a career as a spy, tried out for — and by some accounts, should have made — the 1972 U.S. Olympic team, speaks out often on political issues. The games this summer mattered more than he let on. “I don’t think Pop has ever felt the pressure that he felt to go get this done for our country,” Borrego said. “Wearing that USA across his chest, he felt a real responsibility to produce, win a gold and put out a good product.”