The NBA’s star-studded United States basketball team lost its second straight game to Australia 91-83 in preparation for the Tokyo Olympics on Monday.
The American team, which lost a surprise Saturday to Nigeria (90-87), suffered a new setback on Monday in a friendly homerun in Las Vegas (Nevada).
San Antonio Spurs point guard Patty Mills was Australia’s leading scorer with 22 points, while Damien Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers) scored 22 points and Kevin Durant (Brooklyn Nets) scored another 17 points for the United States.
The United States, which called off Tuesday’s home race against Argentina, recruited a powerful team to the Games to re-validate Olympic gold and a disappointing China-2019 World Cup show in which they lost Were. quarter finals.
However, veteran manager Greg Popovich is having serious problems building up the chemistry in a group full of players who are the top stars in their franchises and who must conform to the rules of FIFA basketball.
“We got better tonight. We haven’t been together for a long time,” Popovich tried to reassure. “In the first half we defended because we had to defend (…) in the second we were tired and it wasn’t like that. But it’s totally understandable.”
“We have to get better in every game,” he insisted.
– “We work to be a team” –
Point guard Damien Lillard kept the United States at the start of the game with four 3-pointers in the first quarter alone.
Australia, whose main centers have been playing together for years, soon lost one of their main bases, center Aaron Baynes (Toronto Raptors), to a knee injury when hitting Bradley Beale (12 points).
The pairing of Patty Mills, who always raises her level when playing with her national team, and Utah Jazz forward Joe Ingalls (17 points) commanded an Australian team that was not intimidated by their opponent’s physical superiority.
“It was an impressive victory but we are not satisfied with it, we have a long way to go,” said Mills, author of the deciding triple in Saturday’s win against Argentina.
Kevin Durant, with another four triples, led the United States to the final stage with a tight score, which the Aussies won.
Three consecutive errors from the triple line by Durant, Lillard and Jason Tatum condemned the United States against Australia, a semifinalist in China-2019 and always competitive at international level.
Lillard, who had his first experience with the national team, admitted, “We’re still working on being a team and getting our feet up, that’s what we’re going to do (…). They can beat us.” .
“They are different norms and we have to get used to it,” he admitted. “There have been times when we’ve seen each other without even knowing what’s going on.”
USA: Kevin Durant (17 points), Jeremy Grant (5), Drummond Green (1), Bradley Beale (12), Damien Lillard (22) – starting team. Then came Jason Tatum (8), Bam Adebayo (6), Zach Lavine (5), Keldon Johnson (7) and Darius Garland (0).
Australia: Joe Ingalls (17 points), Jock Landell (8), Aaron Baynes (0), Patty Mills (22), Matthew Delvedova (0) – Starting team. Next came Nick K (8), Duop Reith (9), Dante Axum (2), Matisse Thiebull (12), Chris Golding (11), Josh Green (0), Nathan Sobe (0), Xavier Cook (2). .