Team USA ready for gi­ant-killer Aus­tralians

The Myanmar Times - - Olympics -

TWO-time de­fend­ing cham­pion United States and Aus­tralia both im­proved to 2-0 at the Rio Olympics with lop­sided tri­umphs, set­ting up a show­down to­day be­tween the con­fi­dent Boomers and pow­er­house Amer­i­cans.

Paul Ge­orge scored 20 points and Jimmy But­ler added 17 to lead the US col­lec­tion of NBA stars over Venezuela 113-69 on Au­gust 8, while Patty Mills net­ted 26 points and Matthew Dellave­dova con­trib­uted 23 with 13 as­sists in the Aussies’ 95-80 win over Ser­bia.

Aus­tralia will have the chance to snap an 0-14 all-time run against the US squad that ousted them in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic quar­ter­fi­nals in a fight for the Group A lead.

“We know Aus­tralia is go­ing to be a tough one for us, just based on how phys­i­cal they are, so we’ll be ready for that,” said US star Carmelo An­thony.

Mills showed no sign of awe at the all-NBA US squad, telling Bris­bane’s Courier-Mail news­pa­per last month, “They can be beaten.”

“With the group we have, we be­lieve that we can beat them,” Mills said. “To be able to achieve great­ness we need to be able to beat great­ness, and that’s what we see with the USA team ... We’re go­ing to give it a red-hot crack, that’s for sure.”

The US might be see­ing red over that.

“If they are go­ing to beat us, they are go­ing to have to work for it,” Ge­orge said.

“It’s go­ing to be a grind-out game and I’m look­ing for­ward to it,” said for­mer NBA Most Valu­able Player Kevin Du­rant.

The Aussies boast four play­ers who have won NBA ti­tles – Dellave­dova with Cleve­land this sea­son, An­drew Bogut with Golden State last year, and Mills and Aron Baynes on the San An­to­nio Spurs in 2014.

“We be­lieve we can do some spe­cial things in this tour­na­ment,” said the Utah Jazz’s Joe In­gles.

US coach Mike Krzyzewski was im­pressed with what he has seen from the Aussies so far in Brazil as well.

“They have been great,” he said. “They haven’t turned the ball over. Baynes has been ter­rific for them in the low post. You have two of the best passers in the tour­na­ment in Dellave­dova and Bogut. It’ll be a dif­fer­ent type of team to play against and they’ll start five NBA play­ers.

“We know that they feel like they can beat us and we un­der­stand that. I think it will be a re­ally good game.”

Ge­orge’s high­light reel-wor­thy slam dunk with 2:50 re­main­ing in the fourth quar­ter brought the loud­est US cheers in the Au­gust 7 vic­tory over Venezuela.

Du­rant added 16 points and five as­sists while An­thony and DeAn­dre Jor­dan each scored 14. Jor­dan added nine re­bounds and Kyle Lowry had nine as­sists for the USA.

Venezuela, with no NBA play­ers, was level with the US NBA line-up at 18-18 af­ter the first quar­ter.

But the US team outscored Venezuela 30-8 in the sec­ond quar­ter for a 48-26 half-time edge, An­thony scor­ing 10 to over­shadow Venezuela in the pe­riod on his own.

In the other Au­gust 7 game, Nando de Colo scored 19 points as France (11) dropped China to 0-2 with a 88-60 win. –

Photo: AFP

USA for­ward Carmelo An­thony scores against Venezuela dur­ing a group A basketball game on Au­gust 8. USA won, 113-69, and get set to take on Aus­tralia to­day.

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