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Zillgitt: US men’s basketball indispensable a diversion like this

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Some members of Team USA basketball took a morning to go do some sightseeing around Rio.
USA TODAY Sports

RIO DE JANEIRO — Down during halftime and trailing in a fourth quarter, a USA’s close, heated diversion opposite Australia on Wednesday was required for a fortifying Olympic and World Cup bullion medalists.

Talented no doubt, though personification with 10 first-time Olympians and 6 players with no before general knowledge during a comparison level, a Americans indispensable a plea after 5 unilateral pre-Olympic muster games and dual blowout Olympics games opposite China and Venezuela.

They got it from clever — mentally and physically — and gifted Australia, a organisation that is able of winning a award and maybe personification a USA for bullion on Aug. 21, a final day of a Olympics.

The USA overcame that halftime necessity (54-49) and a one in a fourth entertain (72-70) and remained dominant after 3 games with a 98-88 victory.

“Our foe adult to this indicate has been scheming us to a grade we would like,” USA Basketball authority Jerry Colangelo said. “We indispensable a genuine test, and we got by a test. That’ll assistance us going forward.”

The USA fought by tainted difficulty and didn’t pulp opposite Australia’s trained and artistic descent sets. As this organisation moves toward a third uninterrupted Olympic gold, it needs to figure out how to get stops late in games, how to govern offensively and who — over Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant — it can rest on with a diversion uncertain in a final minutes.

Australia scored usually 34 points in a second half, and a USA shot 56.3% and done 5-for-9 three-pointers in a fourth quarter. Anthony was shining with 14 points in a fourth quarter. He had assistance from NBA Finals star Kyrie Irving, who scored 12 of his 19 points in a final 6:16 of a fourth quarter.

“This is a genuine universe now, and that was good for us. … We warranted this win, and we’re going to have to acquire a wins throughout,” U.S. manager Mike Krzyzewski said. “This was a unequivocally good night for us. They done winning plays. It’s not like something was given to us tonight. Can we play better? We will need to.

“The knowledge of personification in a diversion during that turn with that physicality and power was not there in a muster games and in a initial dual (Rio) games. When we supplement adult it up, all those things are good.”

Don’t get it disfigured either. This U.S. organisation — even but LeBron James, Steph Curry, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, Anthony Davis — is not some-more exposed than a 2008 or 2012 teams.

Those teams had tighten games, too. In 2008, Spain trailed a USA 91-89 in a fourth entertain of a final. In 2012, Lithuania had an 84-82 lead before losing 99-94. It’s not always 40-point victories and asperse shows.

Close wins beget confidence, build resilience and move a organisation together. Other inhabitant teams, including Australia, have had core players together for years. This U.S. organisation had a initial use together reduction than a month ago.

Australia won’t be a usually organisation to challenge. It could be Serbia and France in a final dual games of organisation play. Maybe it will be Spain, Argentina, Brazil or Lithuania in a knockout round.

“It took 4 buliding to win this game, and we did it,” Irving said. “This was a large step for us, building a impression and a identity.”

BEST IMAGES FROM AUG. 10 AT THE OLYMPICS

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