Moving and grooving. The United States Men’s Basketball team entered the knockout round and took on one of their greatest rivals, Spain. Ricky Rubio had the game of his life, but the USA was able to withstand it and came away with a 14 point win to move into the medal rounds. Two wins to go.
The opponent tonight will be Australia. One of the favorites to medal, Australia made it to this game after walloping Argentina by 38 points. The game got a lot more interesting on Tuesday when Australia’s Patty Mills agreed to sign with the Nets, making it a battle of teammates.
Where to follow the game
Peacock or the NBC Sports App. Tip at 12:15 a.m.
Everyone’s good to go on the American side.
Aron Baynes is out for Australia.
Australia won the exhibition game in July, but we’re in the medal round so we can throw that result out and with the USA roster being all here, it’s a different game.
Last night, Team USA’s women’s basketball team blew out Australia. The men are hoping they have similar success tonight.
When you’ve got one of the greatest ever on your side, you’ve won half the battle. Kevin Durant got all the way loose in the third quarter vs. Spain in route to a cool 29 points on the usual hyper efficient shooting. Durant has been a marvelous Olympic competitor over the past eleven years and Gregg Popovich will need two more incredible games to bring home the gold.
For Australia, Matisse Thybulle will get the KD assignment. He’s one of the best defenders in basketball and Australia hopes his length and physicality will do enough to throw Durant off his game. His offensive game is still raw, but defense will be his calling card tonight and if he is able to slow Durant down, he will severely hamper USA’s chances at victory.
He’s good on the Utah Jazz, and he’s good here. Joe Ingles has been solid for the Aussies in Tokyo and is shooting 39.3 percent from three point range. He’s their team’s best three point shooter and will likely get the matchup of guarding Jayson Tatum when he checks in. Tatum has been rock solid as the sixth man for the team and is the focal point of the attack when Durant gets a breather.
For the Americans, they have to hope their three point shot is here all game long. Against Spain, they were cold from deep in the first half before getting it in gear after the intermission. Against a tough team like this, one cold spell could spell doom. Devin Booker has gotten better as he’s gotten more reps here in Tokyo and has been a welcome addition to the starting five.
Draymond Green will likely be out there late if it’s close. Bam Adebayo had a pretty rough outing against Spain while Draymond Green was fantastic even if it didn’t show itself in the box score. For all the griping we do about him not shooting well or sometimes not taking open shots when they present themselves, Dray does SO many things well on a basketball court. You need winners like him that chip in in every part of the game. The USA got outrebounded by 10 against Spain, and you’re not gonna win many games when that happens.
Players to watch: Damian Lillard ... and Patty Mills
It’s been a fairly... pedestrian Olympics for Dame Dolla? He’s got a 37.8/37.5/75 shooting split and outside of the game against the Czech Republic, he hasn’t been as dominant as you would’ve expected. Now that we’re this deep into the Olympics, Gregg Popovich and friends will need a vintage game out of Lillard to get to the gold medal game. He hasn’t turned the ball over in the last two games and now more than ever, ball possession is critical. Dante Exum and Matthew Delladedova will look to hassle Lillard and make things difficult for him as he looks to find his shot.
Meet the newest Net! When the Olympics are over, Patty Mills will be heading to Brooklyn to join his new mates and compete for the NBA Championship. In the meantime, he’s Australia’s lead scoring option. Thanks to the blowout nature of the game against Argentina, he played an Olympics low 25 minutes so he’ll be full of energy tonight. He’s made 41.7 percent of his 3-point attempts thus far and he’ll look to get hot from deep early. Jrue Holiday will likely get the assignment of hassling Mills all up and down the court, and if we wanna look ahead to the NBA season when the Bucks and Nets square off, it’s going to be something we see a lot of. Buckle up.
From the Vault
Let’s spend some time with an Australian born Brooklyn Net. No not Patty Mills, but Kyrie Irving!
More reading: SB Nation
- PREVIEW: U.S. Men Versus Australia - USA Basketball
- Playoff Kevin Durant holds the key to gold as Team USA prepares for best Olympics Final Four ever - Joe Vardon - The Athletic