Obviously the Olympics are about more than one sport. Just watch what the G.O.A.T. Usain Bolt-the Ali of the track-has just done in less than ten seconds for the third straight Olympia in an 100 meters that was essentially his victory lap. But you have to love how Basketball is being represented in Rio and how competitive all the countries are here in Brazil. Showing the game is much more than one nation or gender. You can see the passion of the fans and their flags around the world! Lets keep them waving like the flame lit.
That being said the globe and this game may be coming closer to the peach but the U.S.A. are still president in this contests campaign. Despite critics trying to give this former Dream Team nightmares. The likes of Kobe and LeBron from London’s 2012 may be gone and Steph Curry may want to set the table for his first games in Japan for 2020, but we still need to hear it for the likes of biggest superstar of the moment Kevin Durant and four time Team USA Olympian and point leading record holder Carmelo Anthony.
Sure people have said what they will about the U.S. squeezing victories out of Serbia and Australia but as they say in the ‘Fast and Furious’, “it doesn’t matter if you win by an inch or a mile…winnings winnings”! Besides did you not see how America handled the Peoples Republic of China by the biggest margin since 1992 (57 points) or an impressive Venezuela all whilst still staying in second gear? Just wait until they hit the nitrus and quarters and less than four games less for what new Golden State Warrior Durant dubs “Game 7’s” from here on out.
The U.S.A. aren’t getting worse. Just like a small ball revolution the game is changing and the rest of the world are just getting so much better.
This is a time where even the silver, second best Spain are struggling and the likes of host nation Brazil are surprising everyone by taking South American neighbors Argentina to two thrilling overtimes before they got taken to the woodshed.
One criticism that has seemed valid was that of Warrior Splash Brother Klay Thompson, who seems to have been shooting in the shallow end here in Rio’s beaches. Until now for this preliminary round he has been more ‘Clay’ Thompson, shooting just 15%. Yeah we’ve been letting him hear it, but we just wanted him to respond.
And boy did he!
Pure shooters will always hit funks, but when they find their range it just opens everything up again. Thompson had been hitting so many bricks he almost broke the backboards glass but tonight it was Klay day again…and you know every one of his band of Team USA brothers were celebrating courtside. It was Showtime for Mychael’s kid as he was everywhere. The baseline. The NBA three point line. So downtown he was in the favelas. Back in the stands with the fans taking selfies and other peoples corn condiments. Thompson was popping. Even hitting a shot clock, off balance fadeaway three like it was a free throw, as it went in and out round the rim, around the whole word. Even stopping off in Tokyo to check out the next games where he’ll be before coming back down to earth with…yep you guessed it, a splash!
Klay’s 30 points lead the United States team to a 100-97 win over France. Aptly beating the Tony Parker rested nation by a 3-ball. Although the U.S. and K.T.’s dominance spoke volumes that the box score couldn’t equate in statistics.
The contest that was opened on a Cousins dunk in relation was punctuated by a rival play as an off balance Cleveland Cavalier champion Kyrie Irving made an impossible alley-oop assist whilst falling down to future G.S.W. rival Kevin Durant for the exclamation dunk.
There’s no more questioning the marks Team USA left after they exited the group stages 5 and 0 like their sisters in the women’s game. Nobody is taking a back seat in the knockout stages now. Even ‘Mr. Game 7’, Kevin Durant needs his ‘Mr. 4th Quarter’, Klay Thompson.
What will they dub the state of these Warriors now?
Australia hand USA first loss since 2006, ending 78 game winning streak
The Australia Boomers playing in front of the biggest crowd (52,079) to ever watch a basketball game were able to pull off the unthinkable and do what no international team has been able to do since 2006 – knocking off the USA 98-94 in their final tune-up game before the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
Patty Mills scored a game-high 30 points — knocking down four triples, including 12 points in the fourth-quarter. Andrew Bogut nearly had a double-double with 16 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists. Joe Ingles added 15 points and 7 rebounds. Aron Baynes 13 points 4 rebounds.
The loss is the Americans first defeat in nearly 13 years since Greece took them down 101-95 in the semi-finals of the 2006 FIBA World Championships in Saitama, Japan.
Team USA managed to regroup and win the Bronze Medal of the the tournament and ripped-off a program best 78 straight wins – failing to lose a game at the 2007 FIBA Americas, 2008 Summer Olympics in Bejing, 2010 World Championships, 2012 Olympics, 2014 World Cup and again in 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
Prior to the loss to Greece in 2006, the Americans also dropped a stunning 95-78 decision to Italy in 10 prior to the start of the 2004 Olympic games in Athens Greece.
Kemba Walker continued to lead the way for the Americans with 22 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists. Harrison Barnes had a strong effort with 20 points and 6 rebounds Donovan Mitchell added 12 points in the loss.
The USA (2-1) will play Canada (4-2) on Monday, August 26th in their final tune-up for before the World Cup in China.
The Boomers (2-2) now set their focus on traveling to China and their preparation for their opening game against the Team Canada on September 1st.
Boxscore: Australia vs. USA
Canada sweeps two-game series against New Zealand
Team Canada fought off a strong effort from the New Zealand Tall Blacks to sweep a two-game pre-FIBA World Cup Series with a 103-100 overtime victory.
Philip Scrubb scored a team-high 24 points, dished out 6 assists and pulled down 5 rebounds to once again lead six Canadians in double-figures. Kevin Pangos added 17 points and 9 assists. Oshae Brissett continued to produce with 12 points, 12 rebounds, 2 assists double-double before fouling out. Kyle Witjer 18 points, 5 rebounds. Thomas Scrubb 12 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and Owen Klassen 10 points and 10 rebounds.
The Tall Blacks came out strong after being embarrassed by a 34-point loss to the Canadians in game one of the series leading 23-13 after the first-quarter. Canada was able to execute in the second-quarter ripping off a 12-2 run to get back in the game and trailed New Zealand 36-33 at half-time.
The Canadians broke-open a 48-48 tie mid-way through the third-quarter with an 8-0 run taking a 56-48 lead on two made free-trows by Thomas Scrubb and finished the quarter ahead 60-59.
Kevin Pangos drilled two three-pointers early in the fourh-quarter to push the Canadian lead to 71-61 with 7:24 to play in regulation. The Tall Blacks continued to play hard on the strength of Cory Webster who poured in a game-high 33 points, added 5 rebounds and 5 assists to force overtime at 81-81.
Kyle Wiltjer caught fire in the extra session scoring 11 of Canada’s 22 overtime points, knocking down two triples as the Team Canada hang-on for the the win a series sweep.
“We are just glad we got win, I thank all the fans who came out made the game fun, that’s what its all about.” thanked Witjer after the game.
“We have a very beautiful team, very unselfish so any given guy can step-up every night so it makes us tough to defend.” – continued Wiltjer about his performance after the game.
With Canada missing majority of their current NBA stars, Wiltjer a former second-round pick of the Houston Rockets is extremely proud to represent Canada once again “its a huge honor every time I play for Canada so I’m really honored to be on this team and Australia is beautiful country so thank you for having us”
Canada connected on 14-of-50 triples (28%) and struggled at the free-throw line shooting 17-of-26 (65%). Canada yanked-down 20 offensive rebounds on their way to a slim 58-55 advantage.
A night after losing Kaza Kajami-Keane to an ankle injury Team Canada lost yet another point guard as Andrew Nembhard picked-up a right knee injury early in the first-quarter and didn’t return.
Despite various incorrect reports, Canadian head coach Nick Nurse confirmed that point guard Cory Joseph will indeed be available for the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
Canada improves to 4-2, with victories over Nigeria, Australia and New Zealand (2x). Team Canada will take on the United States of America in their final exhibition game before the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
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