The United States basketball team lost to Australia in an exhibition match played in Melbourne, 98-94. After 13 years and 78 consecutive victories, Team USA felt the taste of defeat and is severely shaken before the FIBA World Cup in China.
Gregg Popovich and his boys played the second game against the Boomers in just a couple of days and had everything in their hands. But they failed to repeat the recent result.
Like in that previous game, the American team started the second half strong and reached a 10-point lead, 68-58. But they just stopped and allowed for the Australians to come back and take the advantage before the start of the final period, 78-76.
Team USA would come back with an 8-0 run, to be ahead 84-82, but in a tight ending, the hosts were better and got on top in this superb match. With 66 seconds before the end of the game, the Boomers led 97-94. The USA would miss two three-pointers before Patty Mills scored the last point of the match to seal the result.
The San Antonio Spurs point guard delivered 30 points tonight, completely destroying rival’s defense.
“Support has been amazing. We’ve been through a lot of adversity as a team, as a program. We are very proud to be out here representing this color,” said Mills after the game, but added that nothing is done yet.
“This is just one step towards our progress and the ultimate goal of branding history and winning the medal.”
Andrew Bogut was phenomenal this morning. The Golden State’s big man had 16 points missing just one of his 8 shots, and adding 9 boards and 4 dimes. Utah’s Joe Ingles had 15, and Aron Baynes 13.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) August 24, 2019
The Australian team was controlling the board better this time, and surprisingly or not, had an advantage in that aspect of the game, 41-35.
Kemba Walker led the way at the American team, scoring 22 points. Sacramento’s Harrison Barnes had 20 with 6 boards. A pretty humiliating thing for the Team USA was the fact that they had only 11 assists compared to 22 of the home team
“They wanted it more than us tonight,” said Walker. “Lesson learned for us.”
He then added that his team would rise and bounce back quickly.
“We’ll going to learn from our mistakes. We gonna continue to get better. This is a team that just got together. We gonna keep working, watch some film, and just get better from next game.”
Australia defeated the USA for the first time in its history, and the way they did it couldn’t be better. The record of 51,218 spectators set this Thursday was broken this morning with 52,079 people attending the game.
Meanwhile, after winning six major tournaments over the previous 13 years without a single loss, the United States has snapped a winning streak of 78 matches. Right now, according to the FIBA world rankings, Popovich’s team is second on the list behind Serbia.
“They wanted it more than us tonight.”
— NBA TV (@NBATV) August 24, 2019
This loss will only make things worse for the USA. Without all the big names who decided to skip playing this event, it seems that the American team isn’t that dominant anymore. The rest of the world has improved dramatically, and in order to keep the dominance, the best possible crew is needed all the time.
Until the start of the FIBA World Cup, Team USA has one more test, against Canada this Monday. After that, they travel to China, where they meet the Czech Republic in the first round of the group stage.
Meanwhile, Australia finished their preparations and are awaiting the clash with Canada also, but as the first competitive match in China.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.