Is Team USA basketball in trouble? After losing just two exhibition games over the course of 27 years, USA has now fallen in back-to-back exhibition matchups as the team prepares for the Tokyo Olympic Games, which start one week from Friday.
Team USA dropped its first exhibition game in a massive upset loss to Nigeria on Saturday as 29.5-point favorites, and tonight, they followed it up with a 91-83 loss to Australia to make history in fairly embarrassing fashion.
Australia did come in ranked No. 3 in the FIBA World Rankings behind the U.S. and Spain, respectively (Nigeria is No. 22), with the team featuring seven current NBA players in Dante Exum (Houston Rockets), Matthew Dellavedova (Cleveland Cavaliers), Aron Baynes (Toronto Raptors), Josh Green (Dallas Mavericks), Joe Ingles (Utah Jazz), Patty Mills (San Antonio Spurs), and Matisse Thybulle (Philadelphia 76ers). Going into tonight’s matchup, the Aussies were 1-5 vs. Team USA in previous exhibitions, with the lone win coming in 2019 in Melbourne, and 0-8 vs. the Americans at the Olympic Games. Now, Australia is 2-5 in head-to-head exhibition matchups.
USA came into tonight’s matchup as a 17.5-point favorite on Draft Kings.
Damian Lillard led the way with 22 points, four rebounds and one assist, followed by Kevin Durant with 17 points and Bradley Beal with 12 points to round out double-digit scorers. In his Team USA exhibition debut, former UK standout Keldon Johnson added seven points in 13:23 of action, with Bam Adebayo also adding six points, three rebounds and two assists in 16:03.
Mills led Australia with 22 points, four assists and two rebounds, followed by Ingles with 17 points, Thybulle with 12 points and Chris Goulding with 11 points.
To put the loss into perspective, professional basketball players started playing for Team USA in 1992, with the group suffering just two exhibition losses from July 21, 1992 to July 9, 2021 (10,581 days). From July 10-July 12, 2021? Two exhibition losses in three days. Yikes.
Keep in mind, Devin Booker, Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton are all on the Olympic roster, but are not currently with the team as they finish the NBA Finals. Regardless, inexcusable for a roster that includes Kevin Durant, Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal, Jayson Tatum and Bam Adebayo to lose exhibition games.
Must-win matchup for Team USA on Tuesday when they take the floor against Argentina at 6 p.m. ET., the third of five exhibition matchups.
USA will begin their run in the Tokyo Olympics starting July 25.