United States men's basketball team gets tested, beats Australia 98-88

  • United States men's basketball team gets tested, beats Australia 98-88

United States men's basketball team gets tested, beats Australia 98-88

He led the Americans to a 98-88 win over Australia on Wednesday, scoring a team-high 31 points.

Kevin Durant and Irving combined for just 33 points on 31 shots. Point guard Kyrie Irving, who finished with 19 points and five assists, was particularly effective at pulling the Australian defense into the paint, leaving Anthony open.

The U.S. men trailed at halftime 54-49, marking the first time that had happened in Olympic play since the semifinals of the 2004 Games when the team lost to Argentina en route to a disappointing bronze medal. George was inserted for the struggling Klay Thompson in the starting five on Wednesday, but this trio can help get the USA out of trouble at times (if they're in some again) with stops, switching and still be able to score the basketball with guys like Anthony or Kevin Durant playing the four.

Bogut finished with 15 points for the Australians, who have never won a medal but four of their players own National Basketball Association rings. His teammate and 2013 graduate from WSU, Brock Motum, only played three minutes and recorded one rebound.

Patty Mills led the Boomers in scoring with 30 points, with Andrew Bogut chipping in with 15 points and 30,000 hard screens.

The Boomers will aim to get their campaign back on track when they play China on Saturday morning (Australian time). In a game where Team USA identified Mills as their greatest offensive threat, he still played well.

Durant started the second half with a 3-point shot that sparked a 7-0 run by the Americans to reclaim the lead.

But when the nervous US needed someone to take the reins in its first challenge of the Rio Games, Anthony was happy to oblige.

Having overcome China and Venezuela without breaking a sweat, the USA were made to work until the very end as they were pushed all the way by the Boomers.

The US improved its defense and contained Bogut, who scored only four of his 17 points in the second half, enough to allow Anthony to take over. "From playing with Australia the past few years, knowing the type of team they are and knowing the type of players they have, we knew it would come down to the end, where we would have to bunker down and make plays down the stretch". In spite of this, news sites such as USA Today believe that Carmelo Anthony was the driving force behind the USA team that battled through more physical style of play of the Australians.

Anthony had 14 points in the fourth quarter while Irving contributed 12. Australia is a tough team that has won their previous game but was beaten by the USA.

"Melo initiated it to put this game away", George said. Andrew Bogut tallied 15 points, and Matthew Dellavedova turned in a double-double with 11 points and 11 boards. In fact, Australia took back the lead.