Order has been restored … to an extent.
After dropping two exhibition games against Nigeria and Australia in the span of four days, Team USA bounced back, defeating Argentina, 108-80. With a win under their belts, it’s a step in the right direction for the national team ahead of the Tokyo Games. Now, developing chemistry is the top priority — a quality where other international teams hold an advantage.
“Our biggest thing is that we have to realize this isn’t the NBA. Coach Pop keeps re-emphasizing that every single day. It’s way more physical, guys are smarter and these guys have been playing together for five-ten plus years,” said Bradley Beal after the exhibition victory Tuesday.
“They have the experience and chemistry and we’re trying to develop that in a short period of time. Sense of urgency what we’re kinda preaching, but at the same time, every single day we have to get better. That’s how we’re taking it. Taking it a day at a time. Today we got better. Still, a lot more we can improve on but, we’re moving in the
Kevin Durant delivered another productive all-around outing. The Nets superstar finished with 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field and 3-of-5 from three to go with six rebounds, three assists and one steal in 24 minutes of play — a performance that left Sergio Hernandez — the head coach of Argentina — saying “Kevin Durant is amazing” while talking about the exhibition postgame.
Aside from having three straight games of skillful 17-point performances, Durant registered a total of 80 minutes across the three exhibition games.
Beal recorded 17 points in a team-high 29 minutes followed by Zach LaVine, who scored 15 points in 23 minutes — two of which came on a thunderous poster dunk down over Juan Pablo Vaulet, the 25-year-old Nets international stash who’s the last vestige of the Billy King era.
Vaulet ended the exhibition loss with two points and two rebounds in 13 minutes of play off the bench.
Team USA will return to action on Friday, July 16 when the team plays Australia. The game is scheduled to tip at 6:00 p.m. ET. Team USA plays its first game in Tokyo, vs. France, on July 25.
- Game Report: Team USA 108, Argentina 80 - USA Basketball
- USA bounces back, tops Argentina 108-80 in pre-Tokyo tune-up - Tim Reynolds - AP
- ZACH LAVINE SCORES 15 AS TEAM USA BEATS ARGENTINA IN EXHIBITION PLAY - Sam Smith - NBA.com
- Luca Vildoza living out ‘dream’ with Knicks - Marc Berman - New York Post
- Durant ‘kick-starting’ next year in Japan - John Torenli - Brooklyn Eagle