Tatum, Holiday make their mark in Team USA’s exhibition win over Canada

BOSTON — Jayson Tatum and Jrue Holiday both played a part Wednesday night as Team USA beat Canada in the USA Basketball Showcase in Las Vegas. 

Team USA shook off a slow start in its first of five tune-ups ahead of the Paris Olympics, and got the best of Canada, 86-72. While Anthony Edwards led the charge for the Americans with 13 points and Steph Curry added a dozen of his own, Tatum and Holiday made their own impacts on the win. 

Holiday got the start alongside Curry, Devin Booker, LeBron James, and Joel Embiid, but that star-studded group watched Canada race out to an 11-1 lead as Team USA missed its first six shots. Holiday missed a three and grabbed a pair of defensive rebounds during that stretch before checking out with the U.S. trailing 12-4.

Tatum made a quick impact when he checked in off the bench. He logged a pair of driving layups, a steal, and an assist on an Anthony Davis dunk to close out the first quarter to help his team cut Canada’s lead to 21-14. 

Team USA settled down defensively and picked it up offensively from there, outscoring Canada 27-12 in the second quarter to take a 41-33 lead into halftime. Curry took over in the first minute of the third, sandwiching an and-1 layup with a pair of threes in the first minutes, and it was easy sailing for Team USA from that point on.

Tatum coming off the bench (along with the likes of Davis, Edwards, and Bam Adebayo) highlights the embarrassment of riches for Team USA. He played 17 minutes and finished with eight points off 4-for-7 shooting to go with a rebound, a pair of assists, a steal, and a block. He didn’t attempt a single three on the night, and instead imposed his force by attacking the rim.

Holiday’s impact was even bigger though, doing for Team USA what he did for the Celtics throughout the Boston’s title run. He was big for Team USA down the stretch as he continued to push the offensive tempo and also came through with a handful of solid defensive plays. The point guard scored nine points in the quarter, and finished with 11 points, five rebounds, four assists, and a pair of blocks over his 20 minutes of action.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of Canada drives against Jrue Holiday of the United States in the first half of their exhibition game ahead of the Paris Olympic Games.

Ethan Miller / Getty Images

Team USA will have another Celtics star in the near future too, with Derrick White set to join the team as Kawhi Leonard’s injury replacement. The U.S. was also without Kevin Durant on Wednesday night, as he sat out with a calf strain. 

The squad is done in Vegas and will now head to Abu Dhabi for two more exhibitions (Australia on July 15 and Serbia on July 17) before moving on to London for two more (South Sudan on July 20 and Germany on July 22). They’ll then head to Paris and open up their Olympic slate against Serbia on July 28.

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