By Eurohoops team/ [email protected]
While most of the world saw the superstar-filled roster of Team USA as the overwhelming favorite to win the Olympics, and probably still does, their struggles in the prep games might have raised some doubts.
After Nigeria logging a historic upset, Australia was the one to hand the US squad another loss with 91-83 on the scoreboard in Las Vegas.
Joe Ingles had no doubt this would be the final outcome.
“We walked into this game expecting to win. No disrespect to them, they’re a hell of a team, obviously the guys they’ve got on their roster and Pop standing up there is always nice to see, but we came in here expecting to win the game and that’s what we did.”
Patty Mills led the way with 22 points while Ingles followed with 17 and Matisse Thybulle with 12. Chris Goulding scored 11 to complete the list of double-digit scorers but the Australian team might also get some bad news since Aron Baynes left the court after four minutes due to what seemed like a knee injury.
For Team USA, Damian Lillard had 22 and Kevin Durant 17 points with Bradley Beal adding 12.
“These teams are experienced and they’ve spent a lot of time together. We are still working at becoming a team,” Lillard noted and coach Gregg Popovich shared the view. “I thought we got better tonight. After a short time together, there’s a lot of things that have to be covered.”
Meanwhile, Nigeria showed that the previous showing against Team USA wasn’t just a coincidence and have logged another win, a convincing 94-71 against Argentina.
With the fact that both coaches tried to make as many rotations as possible and limit minutes, as well as the score, it didn’t come as a big surprise that Jahil Okafor was the leading scorer with 15 points in 15 minutes.
Precious Achiuwa followed him with 12 in addition to Josh Okogie and Chimezie Metu’s ten points each. Okafor and Achiuwa also grabbed seven rebounds each.
Argentina struggles offensively against the athletic Nigerian squad and Leandro Bolmaro was the only one who managed to score in double-digits, logging ten points. Luis Scola helped with nine.
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