It was a surprise to most of the basketball world that Team USA lost its first Olympic exhibition contest on Saturday to Nigeria. Even in an exhibition, though, it’s an absolute shocker to see that they have lost twice in a row. That’s what took place on Monday as Australia downed the red, white, and blue by a score of 91-83 in Las Vegas. The Americans had jumped out to an 11-point lead in the first half, and their defense allowed the Aussies to put up just 13 in the second quarter, but their opposition, who have beaten them twice in a row now, roared back to life.
Patty Mills led the way for them with 22 points while Joe Ingles had 17 for them. Ben Simmons elected now to play for them, too, so you can imagine this is a very good team when they are all together. Team USA did play better here, getting 22 from Damian Lillard and 17 from Kevin Durant, but it is clear that there is a lot of work to do before getting to Tokyo. With this win, the Aussies will be backing themselves even more to contend for a surprising gold medal. Will the Americans learn from these lessons or will it simply kill the confidence they might have had about them? Only time will tell.