For back-to-back games in Brazil, the basketball national teams from Australia and Serbia have tested Team USA. Would the United States’ undefeated streak end soon at the 2016 Rio Olympics?
US and Indiana Pacers forward Paul George has warned his teammates that the Americans can’t continue playing at the level they are in or they could suffer an upset defeat in Rio.
“As good as we are, we can’t continue to keep playing like this. We’re still scoring 100 points taking one-on-five shots, but we’re too good for that,” George told USA Today Sports.
“The toughest part is that each and every one of us is confident with the ball in our hands that we can make those shots. It just comes down to a trust factor, not letting one guy have that feeling that he has to do it alone.”
After easy wins over lowly Asian team China (119-62) and Venezuela (113-69), Team USA had to deal with tough challenges from Australia (98-88) and Serbia (94-91) with the last two games decided in final two minutes of the game.
Team USA faces another tough test in France on Sunday against the European squad that will feature Tony Parker (San Antonio Spurs), Boris Diaw and Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz), Joffrey Lauvergne (Denver Nuggets), Nicolas Batum (Charlotte Hornets) and Euroleague’s Most Valuable Player Nando de Colo (CSKA Moskow).
Against Australia, Team USA trailed at halftime, 54-49 before recovering late in the second half. The Australians shot 50 percent from the field and the Americans shot just 39.1 percent. Australia also had more assists, 23-17 over Team USA.
Against Serbia, Team USA had to survive a last shot attempt from Bogdan Bogdanovic and avoid the overtime. The Serbians shot better again against the Americans, 51.7 percent to 49.1 percent.
Paul George is worried about Team USA’s play in Rio but the Americans are still the most dominant team in the world when they are playing well. The game against France will be a preview on how they can adjust as the international teams have started to figure the team out in some moments.