An incredible display down the stretch from Patty Mills helped the Boomers defeat Team USA on Saturday afternoon, 98-94.
A record crowd of 52,000 watched Australia hand their American rivals just their second exhibition loss in the professional era, and their first since they were toppled by Greece in 2006.
The Boomers held a narrow lead at half-time, as they had in the first game, but there would be no repeat of Kemba Walker’s second half scoring explosion which guided Team USA to a game one victory.
Instead it was Mills who took over in the second half, hitting a number of crucial shots down the stretch, including a banked in triple that had the capacity crowd on their feet.
Up against his San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovic, Mills’ quickness on cuts and shooting proved troublesome for Team USA, who tried multiple defenders on the speedy guard.
The 2014 NBA champion finished with a game-high 30 points.
Andrew Bogut also enjoyed an excellent game, pacing the Boomers’ offence with his passing skills at the top of the key.
The Sydney Kings centre finished with 16 points.
Reminder: the last time Team USA lost a competitive game with their NBA players was in the Semi Finals of the 2006 FIBA World Championship on September 1, 2006 versus Greece. Almost 13 years ago. Boomers lead Team USA 82-79 with 7:55 remaining.— Ben Mallis (@BenMallis) August 24, 2019
Australia defeats USA Basketball 98-94 in Melbourne to deal Team USA its first loss since 2006.— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) August 24, 2019
- Patty Mills scores 13 fourth-quarter points to stun his Spurs coach, Gregg Popovich
- First time Australia has beaten USA
While it’s easy to dismiss Team USA loss to Australia because it was just an exhibition, don’t forget the Boomers also gave US trouble in 2016 Olympics before Kyrie & Melo saved the day. Possibility loss could be duplicated when it counts is 💪🏽. Australia has NBA vets + no fear— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) August 24, 2019
The Boomers’ history as teammates was evident with crisp and ambitious ball movement, which largely contrasted with Team USA’s reliance on individual scoring.
While he wasn’t the game-changer he was in the first match, Walker was Team USA’s most potent scoring threat throughout the match.
The Boston Celtics point guard finished with 22 points, while Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes added 20.
After trailing by one point at halftime, the Boomers led 78-76 heading into the final quarter to put the record crowd of 52,079 on the edge of their seats.
The Australians still had the lead 91-87 with less than three minutes left on the clock and stifled the depleted Americans attempts to rally.
The United States were missing many of their NBA superstars, who opted to skip the World Cup.