TEAM USA started its Olympic exhibition run with a second consecutive stunning loss Monday, falling to Australia (91-83) in Las Vegas.
The defeat comes two days after Team USA’s first-ever loss to an African nation, when the Americans fell 90-87 to Nigeria.
Patty Mills of the San Antonio Spurs led the Boomers with 22 points on nine-for-21 shooting, with Joe Ingles (Utah Jazz) adding 17 points and three 3-pointers. Australia also received 12 points and three steals from Matisse Thybulle of the Philadelphia 76ers and 11 points from Aussie league veteran Chris Goulding.
Damian Lillard scored 22 points for Team USA, going six-for-11 from 3-point range. Kevin Durant contributed 17 points in 28 minutes and Bradley Beal scored 12 on just six shots in 32 minutes. Jayson Tatum recorded just eight points on 4-for-12 shooting, misfiring on all six of his 3-point tries.
Defense was the biggest issue for the US, which shot 46.2 percent from the floor compared to 52.9 percent (36-for-68) for Australia. Team USA was also outrebounded 32-25.
The US squad went with a couple new starters against Australia, with Draymond Green and Jerami Grant joining All-Stars Durant, Lillard and Beal in the opening lineup.
Team USA came out firing and held a 27-24 lead after one quarter, and built the advantage to nine points at 46-37 by half time. But Australia outscored the Americans (32-18) in the third quarter, and although Team USA fought back to take a fourth-quarter lead, Mills scored 10 of his points in the final period to spur the upset.
The Americans are losers of consecutive games for the first time since professionals began representing the country in 1992. — Reuters