Team USA will look to avenge a 91-83 loss to Australia when they meet on Friday for a 2020 Tokyo Olympics basketball friendly in Las Vegas. The Aussies dissected the US squad with precision on Monday as the Americans suffered their second consecutive loss in the exhibition games.
Team USA surrendered a close 90-87 match on Saturday against Nigeria.
Fortunately for Team USA, they were able to leave behind the two straight losses to overwhelm Argentina 108-80 on Tuesday, a back-to-back affair that gave the squad 24 hours to recover from the harrowing defeat.
Team USA led by 10 points in the second half but surrendered their advantage to Australia behind clutch play from San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills, who scored 10 points in the fourth quarter. He had 22 points overall as the Boomers held the Americans without a field goal in the final 4:34 of the game.
Fixture - USA vs. Australia | 2020 Tokyo Olympics Basketball Friendlies
Date & Time - Friday, July 16th, 6:00 PM ET (Saturday, July 17th, 3:30 AM IST)
Venue - Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas, NV
For the first time in the exhibition match, Team USA is coming off a win. The US squad’s dismantling of Argentina isn’t much to brag about given how their opponent isn’t the powerhouse that it used to be.
The true test of how far Team USA has come since they first came together and played in the exhibition matches comes in their rematch with the Australian national team. After spotty offensive execution and messy defensive rotations, the US appears ready to play as a unit this time around.
Lillard and Durant will be called upon to lead Team USA to victory with Zach LaVine and Jayson Tatum providing additional scoring punch to the roster.
Team News: USA
Jayson Tatum sat out Team USA’s game against the Argentinians with knee soreness and is considered day-to-day. More than likely, this was just a precaution on the part of head coach Gregg Popovich and his staff to avoid further complications ahead of the Tokyo Olympics proper.
More than likely, Tatum will be back in the starting lineup for Team USA on Friday as they try to find the best combination of players who will eventually get the nod to start in the Olympics.
Meanwhile, Team USA will be missing Bradley Beal after he entered COVID-19 protocols recently. It isn’t known if his exposure will cause him to miss the Tokyo Olympics entirely. In his place, Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine will likely be elevated to the starting lineup.
Also Checkout: USA Men's Olympic Basketball Team Roster and Players
USA Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Damian Lillard l Shooting Guard - Zach LaVine l Small Forward - Kevin Durant l Power Forward - Jayson Tatum l Center - Bam Adebayo
The Australian Boomers routed Nigeria 108-69 on Tuesday, behind 21 points from Chris Goulding, who shot a sizzling 7-of-7 from 3-point range, and 17 points from Duop Reath. The duo led a balanced attack that saw six players score in double figures.
Unlike in the Team USA match, the Australians didn’t field NBA players Patty Mills, Matthew Dellavedova, Joe Ingles and Aron Baynes in order to rest them on the second night of a back-to-back game.
When they face the Americans again on Friday, however, expect all four to suit up for their team.
Team News: Australia
The Australian team is bannered by six NBA players including Mills, Ingles, Baynes, Dellavedova, Dante Exum and Josh Green. All-Star Ben Simmons is skipping the Olympics to focus on his individual workouts after his Philadelphia 76ers flamed out of the postseason mostly due to his poor play.
Andrew Bogut, the 36-year-old former No. 1 overall NBA draft pick, retired from competition in November.
The Australians are starting veteran NBA players Mills and Dellavedova in the backcourt, while the frontcourt is bannered by Ingles of the Utah Jazz and Jock Landale at the forward spots. Aron Baynes will man the center position.
Also Checkout: Australian Men's Olympic Basketball Team Roster
Australia Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Matthew Dellavedova l Shooting Guard - Patty Mills l Small Forward - Joe Ingles l Power Forward - Jock Landale l Center - Aron Baynes
USA vs Australia Prediction
After getting their feet wet in international competition with three games under their collective belts, Team USA appears to be ready and fired up to get back on the floor for their revenge match against the Australian Boomers. Kevin Durant starred in the win against Argentina with 17 points along with six rebounds.
Even without Beal, Team USA should be able to make up for his loss with LaVine likely inserted as a starter. Lillard should be more familiar with his teammates, who are looking to him for leadership and to distribute the basketball appropriately.
Expect Team USA to win this rematch between the two teams. If this isn’t a blow out, this should at least be a win for the Americans in the range of seven to nine points.
Where to Watch USA vs Australia
The USA vs Australia 2020 Tokyo Olympics basketball friendly will be televised live on NBCSN and Twitch.