Two-time defending champion United States and Australia improved to 2-0 at the Rio Olympics with lopsided triumphs, setting up a Wednesday showdown between the confident Boomers and powerhouse America
Two-time defending champion United States and Australia improved to 2-0 at the Rio Olympics with lopsided triumphs, setting up a Wednesday showdown 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 Monday, while Patty Mills netted 26 points and Matthew Dellavedova contributed 23 and 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 quarter-finals in a fight for the preliminary round Group A lead.
“We know Australia are 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.
“I know most of their main players that play in our league. I know they play with a little bit more confidence and have different roles here, but we’ll prepare for them.”
The Aussies boast four players who has 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.