Reigning two-time champions the United States are building a head of steam at the Basketball World Cup and dismissed Brazil 89-73 on Monday to set up a quarter-final with France.
Gregg Popovich’s young team were already assured of a place in the last eight but they still made it five wins in a row to top Group K in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen.
Wednesday’s clash with France, beaten 100-98 by Australia, will be a tougher proposition.
But having struggled to defeat Turkey in overtime in the first round, this Team USA missing its megastars seems to be warming to the task of taking home three World Cup crowns in a row.
Sunday’s victory for Spain over Serbia, who had been title favourites after the Americans’ slow start, put Popovich’s men back as the team to beat.
Myles Turner of the Indiana Pacers led them against the South Americans with 16 points and eight rebounds.
Brazil saw their coach Aco Petrovic ejected in the first half.
In a thrilling encounter between two already qualified teams, Australia — who have never gone beyond the World cup quarter-finals — made it five wins out of five by battling past France.
Patty Mills led Australia with 30 points, while team-mate Aron Baynes had 21 points, five rebounds and two assists.
Australia will be strong favourites when they play the Czech Republic in the last eight.
Orlando Magic’s Evan Fournier starred for France with 31 points, six rebounds and four assists.