It wasn’t exactly the best game for Team USA, but a win is a win as the Americans defeated the Australians by a score of 87 to 76 on Tuesday night in Shanghai, China. This is the last exhibition game for Team USA before the start of the olympics; the Americans went undefeated in their games.
Led by Milwaukee Bucks center Andrew Bogut, the Australians hanged tough, forcing the US team into numerous missed three-point shots and free throws. Team USA finished 3-of-18 from three-point range and 20-of-33 from the charity stripe. They relied on an aggressive defense to make up for their missed scoring opportunities.
After the game, Dwayne Wade, who scored 22 points for the states, said, “I think we made it a little harder on ourselves by not moving the ball around as much. We didn’t make our outside shots tonight as well as we’ve been in the past, but at the end of the day we won the ballgame. We found a way to win.”
LeBron James scored 16 for the Americans. Patrick Mills and Chris Anstey of Australia each scored 13 for Australia.
The Americans jumped out to a 44-29 lead at halftime and felt too comfortable in the locker room. This resulted in numerous Australian scoring opportunities in the second half.
“In the third quarter they knocked down some big shots and I think that got them back in the ballgame,” Kobe Bryant said. “And for us, we have to understand that that’s going to happen from time to time and it’s important to keep our poise, keep our composure and buckle down.”
The Australians went on a 13-2 run to open the third quarter, pulling to within four points with 6:52 remaining in the quarter. The United States managed to regroup behind Wade and Carmelo Anthony as the Americans rebuilt their lead to double digits heading into the fourth quarter.
“We just broke down. We gambled a couple of times and allowed them to make the extra pass,” said LeBron James. “We can’t have those type of mental breakdowns because these teams can really shoot the ball.”
The Australians managed to come back and pull within seven halfway through the fourth quarter, but the Americans managed to pick up their game again as they escaped with an eleven-point victory.
Kobe Bryant scored 13 points in this game while Carmelo Anthony downed 12 for the states, who face China on Sunday in their Olympic opener. Bogut, the first overall pick in the 2005 NBA draft, wanted more time to rest a sore right ankle, but is expected to play in Australia’s opener against Croatia on Sunday.
An encore presentation of this game can be seen at 8 PM EST on ESPN2.