USA hasn’t faced a team with any current NBA players heading into this game, so it will be interesting to see how they respond to the likes of Andrew Bogut, Patty Mills, and Aron Baynes. The Americans don’t seem fazed by the competition to this point though, seeing as they've scored over 110 points in both of their games and won by a total margin of 101 points. Kevin Durant and Paul George led the way in the scoring column in both contests, scoring 41 and 35 points respectively. The team’s sharing of the ball has been the catalyst in their victories. The U.S. had 31 assists against China and 24 against Venezuela. The 19 three-pointers they have accumulated through two games proves that they love to shoot the long ball but that they don’t depend on it.
Australia has been the biggest surprise of the Olympics in terms of basketball because of their domination and 2-0 record. First, they demolished a very strong France team by a score of 87-66, and then they toppled Serbia 95-80. The Aussies are still searching for their first Olympic medal in their 14th appearance this year, and this might be their best chance to earn one. They've reached the semi-finals twice however, including a loss to the USA in the semis in 1996. Their lineup this year contains numerous current and former NBA players and has proved formidable. Patty Mills, Andrew Bogut, Joe Ingles, Matthew Dellavedova, and Aron Baynes round out those players from the Association last season. Patty Mills is the team’s most dangerous scorer, pouring in 47 points in just two games.
The USA has plenty of confidence heading into this game, and it’s reasonable to expect their depth on the wings to be a huge problem for Australia. Though Australia can contend with anyone down low, they lack the guard and forward play to keep up with the fast-paced, hot-shooting Americans. Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, and Paul George should eat up Australia’s defense. The U.S. will probably rely on the three-ball more than ever in this game, but that shouldn’t be a problem for this team.
Australia will enter this game with a chip on their shoulder after everyone acted surprised that they're 2-0, but that won’t be enough to take down the machine that is the USA. This game could be a close one in the first half, but don’t trust the Aussies’ ability to slow down the Americans’ best outside scorers. Andrew Bogut and Aron Baynes should play well and do the bulk of the scoring for the Australian team, but I can’t see Matthew Dellavedova and Patty Mills being able to slow down Kyrie Irving or Klay Thompson.
- Sports.net’s top tip: The USA might have a tougher time with this gritty Australian team, but they should be expected to pull away in the end. The Americans win this one by 28.
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