American Sports

Australia Hand US National Basketball Team First Loss In 13 Years

Australia Hand US National Basketball Team First Loss In 13 Years

In their second warm-up match before the FIBA Basketball World Cup, Australia shocked the US 98-94 to inflict the US side's first defeat in 13 years.

Australia had not beaten the US in a senior men's basketball game in 66 attempts, a record stretching back 55 years.

A record crowd of 52,079 packed into the Marvel Stadium in Melbourne to see the Boomers pull off the upset. San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills was undoubtedly the star of the show, scoring Australia's final ten points to seal the victory.

The Australian side were without perhaps their best player, Philadelphia 76ers playmaker Ben Simmons. Simmons had pulled out of the Australia squad despite committing to the Boomers earlier in the summer.

However, that pales into insignificance when investigating the lack of star power on the US side. The quintessential basketball powerhouse only have two of last season's NBA All-Star in their ranks, Kemba Walker and Khris Middleton.

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The majority of Australia's squad is made up of player's plying their trade in the domestic NBL, including veteran centre Andrew Bogut, who recently returned to the Sydney Kings having played in the NBA Finals for the Golden State Warriors.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5TbopZAHV0

Just four of Australia's roster are NBA players; Mills, Aron Baynes, Matthew Dellavedova and Joe Ingles.

The loss was the USA's first since defeat in the semi-finals of the 2006 FIBA World Cup against Greece. On the game, US coach Gregg Popovich said the defeat was a lesson in teamwork.

They were really great and it’s a testament to how long they’ve stuck together to get this accomplished. At both ends of the court they were competitive, they executed really well and they came up with the victory.

The FIBA World Cup begins on August 31. Australia play their first game against Canada on September 1, with the US playing the Czech Republic on the same date.

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Sean Meehan

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