Boomers shock USA megastars in Olympics warm-up
Australia have beaten the USA 91-83 in a Tokyo Olympics warm-up game in Las Vegas.
America’s NBA superstars compounded their loss to Nigeria on Sunday (AEST) with another defeat, while the Boomers claimed just their second-ever win over Team USA.
Australia is now 2-0 in the ongoing exhibition event, while the USA team – coached by San Antonio Spurs legend Gregg Popovich – is a stunning 0-2.
NBA and Boomers veteran Mills, of Popovich’s Spurs team, led Australia with 22 points. Utah Jazz star Joe Ingles had 17 points, while Philadelphia 76ers player Matisse Thybulle had 12 points.
Big men Nick Kay and Jock Landale were instrumental on the defensive end for Australia, collecting nine and seven rebounds respectively.
The Boomers’ only other win against the USA came in 2019, a 98-94 victory in an exhibition game held in Melbourne.
Tuesday’s game in Vegas (AEST) featured NBA giants like Kevin Durant, yet the Aussies could not be denied.
GAME WRAP – By AP’s Tim Reynolds
These games don’t count. Right now, that is the only saving grace for USA Basketball.
And for quite probably the first time in 29 years of NBA players suiting up for the national team, they heard boos when a game ended — on home soil, no less.
Patty Mills scored 22 points and Australia held the US without a field goal for the final 4:34 on the way to beating the Americans 91-83 on Monday night (Tuesday AEST), dropping the three-time defending Olympic gold medalists to 0-2 in their five-game slate of exhibitions leading up to the Tokyo Games.
Joe Ingles scored 17 points, Matisse Thybulle scored 12 and Chris Goulding had 11 for Australia.
Damian Lillard led the US with 22 points, while Kevin Durant scored 17 and Bradley Beal finished with 12. But the Americans wasted a 10-point second-half lead, and have dropped back-to-back games for just the third time since NBA players began wearing the red, white and blue in 1992.
The other instances: two straight in the 2002 FIBA World Championship and two straight in the 2019 Basketball World Cup. The U.S. finished sixth in the first tournament, seventh in the other. And while these are glorified scrimmages, this much is already certain — a medal seems far from a lock for the US.
Jayson Tatum’s layup with 4:35 left put the Americans up 82-80. Australia scoured the US 11-1 the rest of the way, and Mills — who plays for US coach Gregg Popovich in San Antonio — did most of the damage for the Boomers down the stretch.
Favoured by 16.5 points before the game, according to FanDuel Sportsbook, the Americans looked the part for much of the first half. A 20-6 run — capped by five points from Select Team call-up Keldon Johnson — put the US up by eight late in the opening quarter, and Lillard closed out his 16-point first half with a three-pointer 31.7 seconds before intermission that gave the Americans a 46-35 lead.
The halftime lead was nine, the same lead that the US had early in the third quarter against Nigeria before letting it slip away.
And the same thing happened in this one.
The third-quarter lead for the US was as big as 10 and was 58-50 when Lillard made a three-pointer midway through the period. But Australia closed the quarter on a 19-6 run, Goulding hit a three-pointer as time expired and Australia took a 69-64 lead into the final 10 minutes.
Australia: The Boomers, according to USA Basketball’s archives, are now 2-28 all-time against the Americans in senior men’s national competition. The other Australian win came in a pre-World Cup exhibition in 2019.
USA: The Americans changed the starting lineup, with Jerami Grant in for Jayson Tatum and Draymond Green in for Bam Adebayo. … The US was outrebounded 32-25.
Kevin Love, who played only three minutes in Saturday’s loss to Nigeria, was the only Olympic-teamer who didn’t get into the game for the US. The Americans used 10 players; the eight other Olympians in Las Vegas, plus Select Team promotees Johnson and Darius Garland. The Olympic-bound trio of Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday and Devin Booker remain at the NBA Finals.
Australia center Aron Baynes limped off 3:49 into the game after a collision with Beal. Baynes was defending as Beal drove at him, and Baynes grabbed at his right knee following the contact. He went to the locker room, then returned to the Boomers’ bench later in the first half but did not return.
Australia: Faces Nigeria on Tuesday (Wednesday AEST) in Las Vegas.
USA: Faces Argentina on Tuesday (Wednesday AEST) in Las Vegas.
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