Team USA basketball defeated Australia 102-86 led by Kemba Walker in front of a record setting crowd ahead of the World Cup.
Team USA Get an Important Win
Although it was only a warm up, Team USA needed a victory over the Australian national team to restore a bit of confidence heading into the tournament. They did beat the Spanish national team but there are still some doubts about how this team will do.
Kemba Walker led the way with 23 points and Miles Turner added 15 in the win. The game was close early in the second half before Team USA scored thirteen unanswered points to go from down one to up fourteen. The size of the crowd might have had something to do with the slow start by Team USA.
Team USA Played in Front of Record Crowd
The game was played on a makeshift basketball court. The Marvel Stadium, which usually hosts soccer and cricket, was converted to host this game. That led to a crowd of over 50 thousand people, the largest to ever watch a basketball game in Australia. Considering how big the sport is in the country, that is quite a feat. Most of the players on Team USA are very young and it would not have been an easy atmosphere to play in.
Even though the Australian team did not have their best player, Ben Simmons of the 76ers, they did have four NBA players in their starting lineup. Those players were Patty Mills, Aron Baynes, Joe Ingles and Matthew Dellavedova. While that is a decent lineup, most of those players would struggle to even make Team USA.
Kemba Walker Took Over
Although this team is mostly made up of young players, they can count on the veteran presence of Kemba Walker. This opportunity means a lot to Walker who has never been able to participate on the international stage before this tournament. It seems like he is set on making the most of this chance. He scored 21 of his 23 points in the second half and looked determined to lead his team to victory.
This summer is not just a chance to show Celtics fans what he can do. It’s also an opportunity to show Gregg Popovich that he deserves a spot in the next Olympics. As long as he stays healthy between now and then, it isn’t hard to imagine that a big performance at the World Cup would almost guarantee him a spot in the next summer games.
Team USA Still the Clear Favorites
Despite all of the big names dropping out, Team USA are still the favorites to win the gold medal. They will have to work harder than any team since the 2006 Bronze medal team which was the last time Team USA lost a competitive game. Since then, they have won 78 games in row including this latest win against Australia. In that time span, they have won three Olympic gold medals and two basketball world cups. The pressure of representing the U.S in international basketball might be the biggest obstacle facing this young team at the World Cup.