USA Men’s AmeriCup Qualifying Team (6-0) wasted no time in racing past Mexico (2-4), holding a 58-33 advantage at halftime en route to a 96-75 victory to close out qualifying games for the 2022 FIBA AmeriCup on Saturday evening in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Ra’Shad James paced the USA to victory with 21 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the floor and 3-of-3 from 3-point; Brandon Bass contributed 12 points and five rebounds; Joe Johnson notched 11 points, a game-high-tying nine rebounds, and a game-high seven assists.
“I thought it was great,” said Johnson of the team’s overall effort. “I thought collectively as a team we played great. We moved the basketball and got stops and got out and go easy baskets. It was fun that way.”
The 39-year-old Johnson, who last played in the NBA in 2018 for the Rockets, is having a lot of fun playing the game he loves.
“It was therapeutic for me,” Johnson said. “Being able to play and compete at a high level, I really enjoyed it. I love the game of basketball so much; I’m just glad I got the opportunity.”
The seven-time All-Star, who signed with the Pistons in September 2019 after his impressive play in the BIG3, but was waived a month later by Detroit, is unsure what’s next for him. However, Johnson, who was apart of the national team in 2016, was proud to wear the Team USA jersey one more time.
“I loved it so much. I appreciate the opportunity,” Johnson said. “I don’t know how I got invited but thank you. I couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity than this.”
Johnson knew how to score in his prime and still finds a way to get the ball in the basket at age 39. It’s good to see him out there playing the great game of basketball.
Photo: FIBA AmeriCup