Basketball world erupts as Aussies clinch 'incredible' win over Team USA

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Pictured here, Boomers players celebrate during their win over Team USA.
The Boomers lay down an Olympics marker with a superb upset win against heavyweights Team USA. Pic: Getty

The Australian men's basketball team have laid down an emphatic marker ahead of the Tokyo Games with an extraordinary victory over Team USA in an Olympics warm-up match.

Playing against a star-studded American team stacked with All-Star talent, the Boomers sent a warning to their rivals with a stunning 91-83 win.

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Australian Olympic flag-bearer Patty Mills led the way for the underdogs, scoring 22 points as some tenacious defence from the Aussies restricted the Americans to zero field goals in the final four-and-a-half minutes.

The loss is the second in a row for the three-time defending Olympic gold medalists in their five-game slate of exhibitions leading up to the Tokyo Games, having also been stunned by Nigeria. 

Joe Ingles scored 17 points, Matisse Thybulle scored 12 and Chris Goulding had 11 for Australia.

Damian Lillard led Team USA with 22 points, while Kevin Durant scored 17 and Bradley Beal finished with 12. 

But the Americans wasted a 10-point second-half lead, and have dropped back-to-back games for just the third time since NBA players began wearing the red, white and blue in 1992.

The other instances: two straight in the 2002 FIBA World Championship and two straight in the 2019 Basketball World Cup. 

The USA finished sixth in the first tournament, seventh in the other. 

And while these are glorified scrimmages, this much is already certain — a medal seems far from a lock for the USA.

Jayson Tatum's layup with 4:35 left put the Americans up 82-80. Australia scoured the U.S. 11-1 the rest of the way, and Mills — who plays for USA coach Gregg Popovich in San Antonio — did most of the damage for the Boomers down the stretch.

Favoured by 16.5 points before the game according to bookies, the Americans looked the part for much of the first half. 

A 20-6 run — capped by five points from Select Team call-up Keldon Johnson — put the USA up by eight late in the opening quarter, and Lillard closed out his 16-point first half with a 3-pointer 31.7 seconds before intermission that gave the Americans a 46-35 lead.

The halftime lead was nine, the same lead the Americans had early in the third quarter against Nigeria before letting it slip away.

And the same thing happened in this one.

Patty Mills is seen here scoring a basket against Team USA.
Patty Mills led the way for the Aussies with a team-high 22 points against the USA. Pic: AAP

The third-quarter lead for the USA was as big as 10 and was 58-50 when Lillard made a 3-pointer midway through the period. 

But Australia closed the quarter on a 19-6 run, Goulding hit a 3-pointer as time expired and Australia took a 69-64 lead into the final 10 minutes.

The extraordinary result left the basketball world stunned and Aussie fans dreaming big ahead of the Olympics.

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