It happened again.
Two days after a mindblowing loss against Nigeria, Team USA fell to Australia 91-83. They were 17.5-point* favorites, per DraftKings. Over the past 29 years, the Americans had lost only two exhibition matchups. They’ve matched that total this past week alone.
Concern? Sure. Panic? Nah. All things considered, these are exhibition games. We don’t panic when teams lose in the preseason, so why would we do the same for a group of superstars?
Not to mention, some players’ seasons ended quite literally three weeks ago. Zach LaVine and Jerami Grant are the only USA players who didn’t make the postseason. And the team is missing Devin Booker, Jrue Holiday, and Khris Middleton.
“After a short time together, there’s a lot of things that have to be covered,” head coach Gregg Popovich added. “Some guys have to get their legs and rhythm back.”
The Game is changing. This year’s MVP is from Serbia, and the last American to win was James Harden in 2018. Three of the five players on this year’s All-NBA first team are from the Balkans. And the Defensive Player of the Year is from France.
Aussie Credit: Spurs guard Patty Mills led the way with 22 points, including six three-pointers. Jazz forward Joe Ingles chipped in 17 and added, “No disrespect to them… but we came in here expecting to win the game, and that’s what we did.”
Team USA is learning that you can’t take anyone lightly amid the globalization of basketball.
They’ll play Argentina tonight at 6:00 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network. USA is 17.5-point* favorites.