LAS VEGAS: The United States men’s team suffered its second straight shocking loss on Monday, losing 91-83 to Australia in a pre-Olympic friendly tournament in Las Vegas. The Americans, whose roster includes a host of NBA all-stars, also lost 90-87 to unheralded Nigeria on Saturday and have now lost four of their last five games dating back to the 2019 FIBA World Cup, where they finished an embarrassing seventh.
Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant was held to 17 points for the second consecutive game, and Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers finished with a team-high 22. Patty Mills, of Canberra, scored 22 points, and Adelaide’s Joe Ingles scored 17 for the Aussies, who shot 53 percent from the floor as a team in the tuneup event for the Tokyo Olympics.
Australia outscored the US 6-0 in the final 30 seconds. Boston Celtics player Jayson Tatum threw up an airball in the final minute, and Durant missed a three-pointer in the waning seconds. Australia, one of the favorites to reach the podium in Japan, has never beaten the US in the men’s Olympic basketball tournament in eight tries dating back to 1964. Monday’s exhibition win comes 33 years after the US defeated the Boomers 78-49 to win the bronze medal in Seoul, South Korea.
The United States were without three players still active in the NBA finals. The United States, who have won three Olympic men’s basketball titles since earning bronze in 2004, are looking to regain global dominance after finishing in seventh at the 2019 World Cup. – AFP