On Wednesday, the United States played what might be their only competitive game of the Olympics, a 10-point victory over Australia coming on the heels of 40-plus-point blowouts of China and Venezuela. The Australians stuck with the Americans in a back-and-forth battle, and the U.S. only pulled away in the fourth quarter. Part of this is because the Australian team has among the most NBA players of any non-American team, but Paul George thinks it’s something else, according to USA Today‘s Sam Amick. George took issue not only with the Aussies’ supposed dirty play, but also the officiating:
“We knew we were going to get their best,” said George, who started for the first time here but had just five points in 17 minutes. “It was an adjustment for us. This game kind of got out of hand with the chippy (play) and the physical play. We knew that coming in. This team has a knack for being a little dirty. I thought the second half we did a good job of just matching it.”
As George explained, the Americans were just fine playing that way. The problem, as he saw it, was the officials didn’t allow them to stand toe-to-toe in that department.
“Personally, we were doing the same stuff that they were doing and we were getting (nabbed) for it,” George said. “We’re fine playing physical. That’s our game in the NBA. If they’re going to allow us to play that way, you’ve got to let us play it both ways.”
The Australian players’ tendencies are well-documented, particularly two: Matthew Dellavedova and Andrew Bogut. Bogut had a run-in with Russell Westbrook during the Western Conference Finals and was one of the main offenders behind the widespread accusations of illegal screens on the Warriors. Dellavedova has had no shortage of incidents with other players.
Put it all together and these accusations are going to fly during the Olympics, especially when the United States team is used to blowing out opponents and actually has to fight for a victory during group play.
George is just lucky there are no fines for public criticism of the officiating in the Olympics like there are in the NBA.