A team full of Aussies was never going to be a push over. Team USA facing their first exhibition game off of American soil realized that their quest for FIBA gold wasn’t going to come easy. With the game starting around 6:00AM ET/3:00AM PT in front of an Melbourne crowd at Marvel Stadium of 50,000+, the American team looked a bit jetlagged. The Boomers really pushed Team USA in the 1st quarter, but talent won out overall with Team USA winning 102-86.
No one player for Team USA got their foothold in the 1st half. It was a balanced effort for Team USA as Kyle Kuzma, Donovan Mitchell, Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum all helped to get Team USA the one point lead after the 1st half.
On the other side of the ball Patty Mills and Matthew Dellavedova were absolute beasts. Patty Mills had 13 points after the 1st half and Matthew Dellavedova had 8. A little known player in the states, Chris Goulding, had 10 points. Chris Goulding currently plays for Melbourne United with the NBL.
Australia’s defense was the big story in the first half, suffocating Team USA’s offensive sets. If Team USA wasn’t scoring in transition, they were slogging it against Australia’s tough half court defense. The United States only shot 40% in the first half compared to Australia’s 41%. Andy Larsen of the Salt Lake Tribune put it best:
One of these teams feels like a Popovich-coached team and it's not the one he actually coaches— Andy Larsen (@andyblarsen) August 22, 2019
In the second half, Team USA made some big adjustments. Donovan Mitchell’s defense on Patty Mills was a big one. Mitchell’s defense was suffocating. That forced Australia to have to find their offense from other players. One of those other Aussie players was Chris Golding. He was lighting it up from three.
Quin Snyder has to be watching this game thinking “I hope he defends like this for me”— Tony Jones (@Tjonesonthenba) August 22, 2019
In the third quarter, Donovan Mitchell and Kemba Walker got rolling. They really led the US team in scoring during that quarter. Mitchell was 3 of 4 with 7 points in the third quarter while Kemba went 3 for 6 with 7 points.
Pop basically realized neither Baynes nor Bogut can defend Walker or Mitchell in space and simplified the offense to high PNR and they went to work in the third quarter and now the floodgates have opened— Tony Jones (@Tjonesonthenba) August 22, 2019
splash— SLC Dunk (@slcdunk) August 22, 2019
Donny’s got 11 so far in Melbourne. pic.twitter.com/FjfjX9IJZt
In the fourth quarter, Team USA’s offense slowed down, but they put the defensive screws down on the Australian team.
Joe Ingles wasn’t a big factor in this game. He finished with 6 points on 2 of 6 shooting with 5 rebounds and 1 assist. We did get a Joe Ingles’ three so that’s all we could ask for.
Donovan Mitchell may not have been efficient from the field 6 of 15 from the field (though he was 5 of 10 from two), but his defense was the difference maker for the US team. If you’re Quin Snyder, you’re salivating at the thought Donovan playing shutdown defense like that with Rudy Gobert and Mike Conley. Donovan Mitchell also finished with 3 assists, 2 steals, and 1 beautiful block.
Kemba Walker was a man amongst boys. He finished with 23 points and 6 rebounds. Myles Turner also put in big work with 15 points and 14 rebounds. University of Utah graduate Kyle Kuzma also had 12 points and 2 rebounds.
Renae Ingles, Joe Ingles’ wife, was the sideline for the game. She even gave Joe Ingles the pre-game interview and ended it with a kiss. Not sure if that’s just for Joe Ingles or customary in Australia.
Russell Crowe was in the arena for the game. Of course, he was there to see the Spida-man.
Australia has this siren that goes off almost like a less aggressive police siren for dead balls or substitutions instead of the USA’s aggressive truck horn. I’m pro Australian siren right now.
The game was called by Australia’s Gazey and Hammer. Their commentary was great and I have found I’m very pro Australian commentators. Allow these men to call every FIBA game. I don’t care how they make it happen. Just make it happen.
The game was played in a rugby arena so the seating was interesting to say the least. I don’t know how people saw the floor if they were sitting on the floor.
Overall, this game was a success for basketball in Australia. Huge crowd made it out to see basketball. The Boomers put up a fight against the World’s top squad. Fun was had. Let’s just not make 3:30AM start times a thing much longer. I’m going back to bed. Goodnight.