By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Everyone expected that this version of the USA national team would be vulnerable and Australia proved it by getting the 98-94 win in Marvel Stadium in Melbourne in front of 50.000 fans.
Patty Mills with 30 points – 13 of them in the last quarter – led the charge against the team of Gregg Popovich, his coach at the San Antonio Spurs. “The support was always there, but this is huge on many accounts,” said Mills after the game. “Obviously it’s just a preparation game, but this can get basketball back to being the high-quality sport, that it is, in this country.”
Andrew Bogut added 16 points, and Joe Ingles had 15 in one of the biggest night for Australian basketball.
On the other side, Kemba Walker with 22 points and Harrison Barnes with 20 were the only two players in double-digits for Team USA. Kyle Kuzma (left ankle soreness) missed the game from the losing side.
The Americans should understand after this result that the FIBA World Cup would not be a walk in the park. Even in the first prep game between the two teams, two days ago, the USA needed a big third quarter to get to the win with the Boomers pushing them hard.
“This is a step towards the place that we wanted to be,” added Mills. “The ultimate goal is to be able to win a medal in a major tournament.”
It was the first defeat of Team USA in official and exhibition games before a major tournament after losing back in 2006 to Greece in the FIBA World Cup semifinal and a series of 78 straight wins.