In its third game of the Olympics, Team USA founds itself in a dogfight against Andrew Bogut, Patty Mills and the Australians. The Boomers led the Americans 54-49 at half, with Mills dropping 15 in the first two quarters. Australia also held multiple seven-point leads in the first half. And for the second straight game, the Americans looked flustered when they weren’t able to establish their lightning quick pace.
Carmelo Anthony was the only player who showed up for Team USA in the first half. He scored 14 in the first quarter, drilling the first three 3s of the game for the red, white and blue. Late in the first, he passed LeBron James for first on the Americans’ all-time Olympic scoring list. In the Team’s first three games, he’s left David Robinson, Michael Jordan and James in the dust.
@carmeloanthony is the best international player of all time!
— Tyson Chandler (@tysonchandler) August 10, 2016
Even behind 17 first-half points from Anthony, Team USA couldn’t figure out how to solve the Boomers. “They’re a physical team,” Melo told NBC. “They made some tough shots.”
Team USA opened the third on a 9-0 run. Just like in their game against Venezuela, it took them until the third to stop settling for jumpers. They also began to move the ball a little bit and stopped relying on crazy, 1-on-1 shot making. DeAndre Jordan also continued to step up, filling in for the foul-plagued DeMarcus Cousins. Boogie only played 10 minutes.
With a 70-67 lead going into the fourth, Carmelo stepped up big time. He had 14 of America’s 28 fourth-quarter points. He showed no fear or panic. Kyrie Irving, who had the rest of the 14 points for America said he was just following Anthony’s lead.
“He’s a great player,” Irving said on NBC after the game. “The leader on this team. When you have a leader like that that’s just gonna leave it all out on the floor, no matter what possession is going on out there on the floor, he just stayed resilient. He’s our rock. He’s gonna hold us down.”
“We knew it was a big game,” Anthony said after finishing with 31 points and 9 threes. “We knew what kind of situation we were coming in to. A tough, physical game, a grind out game. The Aussies hung tight, they played a great game. I think one of their best games of the tournament. I don’t think we played our best game but we buckled down when we needed to.”
Coach Mike Krzyzewski really tightened his rotation in the second half, mostly relying on Anthony, Irving, Jordan, Paul George and Klay Thompson. The Australians proved to be a threat.
“For us, it was a heck of a win because we beat an outstanding team,” Coach K said. “We earned the win.
“They played lights out basketball,” he continued. “They play so well together as one.”
Team USA plays again on Friday, at 6 EST, against Serbia. Check out highlights of tonight’s win below.