The second consecutive defeat for them and Stripe: it never happened before. The Tokyo Boomers are in the Azzurri group. Engels: “We play every game in the belief that we can beat anyone.”
It happened again. And this time it hurts, because it should be the undisputed master of world basketball with a lot of doubts about their value. Instead the team lost 91-83 to USA Australia, third in the world rankings and this new defeat two days after an unexpected knockout with Nigeria gave the impression of a red alert. True, 9 NBA stars have gathered in Las Vegas for less than a week at the behest of Greg Popovich, but this second game against the Wild Boomers, who would like Nigeria in Tokyo, will be in the Italian group, showing how far USA still has to be a team.
Some progress has been made in reality, especially in a good first half where Popovich’s team also went to +11 thanks to Damien Lillard (best with 22 points) and seems to have been able to control the match. “We’ve improved – the pope who kept Kevin Love off the spin – we defended like that in the first half, we were more physical, we removed the ball better. Then we run out of energy in the second half.” And for the first time in history since opening for NBA players since 1992, the world’s strongest national team has lost two games in a row. But they’re always two defeats. “We can’t win because we show up on the field and roll the ball,” said Lillard. We face teams that have been together for some time, while we are still working to be a team, to get back in shape. We have to do everything we can to win, and if we don’t we lose. ” Pop focuses on the condition: “We must learn from our mistakes, improve our form”. He’s still trying to figure out the team: Against Australia he tried to include Drymond Green and Jeremy Grant in the left-hander Adebayo and Jason Tatum’s quintet, giving minutes to Caldon Johnson, who was part of the reserve team, and mixed cards. There is still a lot of work to be done, however, as Pop recalls, and Team USA is already back on the pitch to face Argentina tomorrow.
“We started the game hoping to win. Not to disrespect Team USA, because that’s our mentality right now.” What Joe Engels explains naturally makes Australia a medal contender after finishing fourth in Rio, Tokyo. The Chinese World Cup which is still burning in a program that chases the podium of legitimacy. In the Games they will be the only team in the group against which Italy will start at a disadvantage. Because they are full of NBA players, both deep and old. Beware that the new one (Philadelphia Matisse Thaibule, 12 points against Team USA, a force of nature in defense that promises a lot to the Olympics) and they have Patty Mills who plays at the top of the Australian tank is an incident. He won the game against Argentina two days ago, making a difference again against Team USA with 22 points and a heavy basket in the final. He and Engels are leaders in a group of experienced players who still aim for improvement. “We just started, we still know each other but we’re aiming high,” recalls the Utah winger, who did badly with 17 points, 3 triplets and plenty of lead.
Wrong start for Team USA, but after the initial 13-7 Australia, the Pop team recovered and showed a lot of progress, even reaching 46-35 from the rest with Lillard 30 “. The second half started with Team USA 46 ahead. -37 and in clear control, at least until Lillard, from the 5’06 ”third siren, puts in a triple of 58-50. Boomers 19-6 partial to close the third quarter at 69-64, then a new shot after overturning it to play USA 82-80 with Tatum 4’36 “. Mills is the protagonist, doing the rest with Thaibul defense and counter-attack, and the hosts are upset for a new defeat that raises a lot of doubts about their value in being the undisputed master of world basketball.
Use:Lillard 22 (2/4 of two, 6/11 of three), Durant 17, Bial 12. Rebounds: Lillard 4, Durant 4. Assist: Green 5.
Australia:Mills 22 (8/16, 1/5, 3/4 free throw), English 17, Thaibul 12. Rebounds: K9. Assists: Mills 4, Delavedova 4, K9.
July 13, 2021 (Changed July 13, 2021 | 07:21)