WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Team USA stands at 0-2 in exhibition matches weeks before the Tokyo Olympics.
- The Australian Boomers beat the American basketball team 91-83.
- USA head coach Gregg Popovich had a heated exchange against a reporter following the team’s Monday loss.
Even being the no.1 basketball team in the world, Team USA suffered two straight defeats as they are still winless in the ongoing basketball exhibition matches in Las Vegas. The latest game was the loss against Australia 91-83 Monday night.
Evidently, the Americans ━ composed of highly talented individuals like Kevin Durant, Damian Lillard, Jayson Tatum and many others ━ are still working on their chemistry to work better as they are expected to be.
“In the first half we defended the way we wanted to defend,” USA coach Gregg Popovich said following the loss against Australia. “We were more physical, we sustained the defense longer, we rebounded better, we moved the ball better and had more pace. In the second half we tired out and when that happens you get hit mentally a little bit too. So we have some guys that have to get our legs and rhythm back, but in general, we need more conditioning and that’s totally understandable.”
Popovich admitted that when it comes to defense, the team, which was just assembled weeks ago, has a long way to go. The latest defeat was another red flag for the highly favored team to win gold in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
Three years ago, Australia also defeated the USA in a friendly match before the FIBA World Cup.
“We walked in here expecting to win the game,” Australian Boomers forward and NBA’s Utah Jazz Joe Ingles said.
The Boomers were led by guard and NBA’s San Antonio Spurs Patty Mills with 22 points. Aside from Mills and Ingles, the team is also composed of several NBA players like Aron Baynes, Dante Exum, Josh Green, Matisse Thybulle and Matthew Dellavedova.
“We were way more locked in and energetic on the defensive end, and offensively we were just flowing. It was very good ball movement, had some good shots. Some of them didn’t fall in the beginning, but we played really well,” Team USA’s Bradley Beal said of the first half. “In the second half, it was just a totally different story. We kind of got tired, got lazy on defense, and that’s really where we got hurt.”
At one point during the press conference following the loss, Popovich engaged in a verbal scuffle with one reporter, who claimed that that current line up is now facing a “much-different, much-closer, tougher experience.”
“When you make statements about, in the past just blowing out these other teams, number one, you give no respect to the other teams, and I talked to you last time about the same thing. We’ve had very close games against four or five countries in all these tournaments. So, the good teams do not get blown out,” Popovich responded.
Source: NBC Sports