The last time Team USA trailed an opponent during halftime of the Olympics? August 28, 2004 to Argentina, a semi-finals match they lost en route to a bronze medal. Today, the US trailed the Australian Men’s National Team at the half, 54-49. A late comeback led by Carmelo Anthony and Kyrie Irving sealed the game for the US in a 98-88 victory.
The “Boomers” feature five NBA players and gave the US all they could handle in their third preliminary game in Rio. Australia was 2-0 in group play after defeating Serbia and France before tonight’s matchup. Led by NBA guards Patty Mills and Matthew Dellavedova, Australia slowed the pace and took the US off their preferred shots. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving were a combined 4-of-17 from the field at the half. The one exception to Team USA’s poor shooting was Carmelo Anthony, who passed David Robinson as the all-time scorer for Team USA with a 14-point first quarter. Anthony finished with 31 points and eight rebounds, shooting 9-of-15 from three-point range.
A 9-0 run to start the second half brought the United States back in the lead, but the Boomers kept the game close late. Mills led his team in scoring with 30 points, assisted by the impressive guard play of former Cavalier and NBA Champion, Matthew Dellavedova, who had a double-double with 11 points and 11 assists.
In the fourth, Carmelo and Irving led a late scoring effort for a lead that the US struggled to maintain. The duo were the only two players to score from the field for the US in the quarter. A three-pointer from Irving with 1:37 remaining brought the lead back to 7 and a split pair of free throws from Irving and two from Durant brought it to 10. “Mr. Fourth Quarter” had 10 of his 17 points in the fourth, along with 5 assists on the night.
The US Men’s National Team is now 3-0 in group play in Rio. They lead Group A with six points and will play Serbia on Friday.
Of Note: Paul George started in place of Klay Thompson, who was just 1-of-11 from the field in the first two games. The substitution didn’t work out too well for George, who had just 5 points and Thompson continued to struggle, finishing 2-of-9 on field goal attempts, for 6 points.