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Patty Mills And Australia Beat Team USA For Their Second Straight Loss In Las Vegas

Over the weekend, the men’s USA Basketball squad got beaten in a shocking upset by Nigeria — who went on to beat Argentina on Monday and prove they may just be for real — in exhibition action in Las Vegas. It was a stunner, but one Team USA suggested could be a needed wake-up call before they head to Tokyo for the Olympics.

On Monday, they had a chance to right the ship against Australia, a team that beat them in exhibition action back in 2019 before the FIBA World Cup, the first signal of potential major issues that ended up seeing the U.S. bounced early in China. However, the bounce back performance from Team USA was not to be, as they struggled once again offensively in a 91-83 loss to the Boomers, who were led by Patty Mills (22 points) and Joe Ingles (17 points) as they look to find the podium for the first time in the nation’s Olympic history in a month’s time.

Ingles did much of his damage early, hitting his first three attempts from long range to keep the Boomers within striking distance of a similarly hot start for Team USA.

Damian Lillard was the one who got it going early for the Americans, finishing with a team-high 22 points himself.

Kevin Durant had 17 for Team USA and Bradley Beal added 12, but for a team that boasts so many scorers, they have clearly not figured out how to all coexist on offense, particularly late in games. Jayson Tatum’s struggles continue as he had eight points on 4-of-12 shooting, and no one seems to know quite what to do to create good offense in the halfcourt as they are currently constructed. Adding the three players they’re currently missing due to the Finals figures to help that some, but they’ll have even less time to work those three into the rotation and build that cohesion that is so clearly missing right now for the squad.

For Australia, there was no doubt who they were going to down the stretch, as Mills took over as he so often does for the Boomers. He carved up the U.S and, while he didn’t need to produce late heroics like against Argentina, he was relentless in attacking and poking holes in the USA defense to keep them at bay.

On defense, Matisse Thybulle’s length bothered the Americans, as he got a rare block on a KD jumper and stuffed the stat sheet for the night with 12 points, three assists, two rebounds, two blocks, and three steals — including a big three during Australia’s late third quarter run to take a five point lead into the fourth.

If the loss to Nigeria was a wake-up call, then this loss to Australia has to ring at least a few real alarm bells for Team USA. There’s certainly still time and ample talent to figure things out, but if nothing else these exhibition games are showing the world this U.S. team is more than vulnerable and any fear factor the All-Star roster creates seems likely to be almost completely worn away. There was a time where the USA men never lost in exhibition games, and have now equaled their exhibition loss number over the past 30 years in one week.

As for Australia, it further builds their confidence that this can be the year they win a medal, even without Ben Simmons playing, as Mills and Ingles give them some serious offensive firepower, and they have a lot of length elsewhere on defense to make life difficult for other squads. Nigeria, fresh off its win over Argentina, took to Twitter to welcome Australia to the “beat the USA in Vegas” club.

Team USA will have one final game tomorrow night against Argentina (6 p.m. ET) to try and get that first win and build at least a bit of confidence going into Tokyo.

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