With 1:30 to play, Kyrie Irving hit a step-back three similar to the one in Game 7 of the Finals for the proverbial dagger as the United States hangs on to beat Australia, 98-88.
Carmelo Anthony was the high-scorer for the Americans scoring 31 points on 9-15 shooting from three-point range. With this scoring output, Carmelo passed LeBron James for most combined points scored by an American.
Australia was not intimidated. They punched the Americans in the face and as a result, the US was tentative and frustrated at times. Things got chippy between Paul George and Matthew Dellavedova early as the two got tangled up resulting in a technical foul for George.
The Australians don’t have a stretch-4 and Carmelo Anthony took full advantage of the mismatch. Melo scored 14 points in the first quarter on 5-7 shooting including 4-5 from three-point range.
It looked like the United States might separate from the Aussie’s as they started the second quarter on a 7-2 run but Australia countered with a 7-0 run of their own. The Australians shot an incredible 68 percent from the field and led, 54-49 at halftime.
After going just 2-10 from the field in the first half, Kevin Durant hit his first jumper of the third quarter. That wouldn’t get the All-Star going.
Things continued to stay chippy as Andrew Bogut fouled Kyrie Irving along the sideline which resulted in Irving laying on the floor; but no technical foul was called.
Anthony caught fire again to start the fourth quarter connecting on his first three three-pointers. Kyrie Irving came alive connecting on several key shots as the duo scored 26 of the team’s 28 fourth quarter points.
Kyrie Irving would hit a step back three to all but ice the game. It wasn’t easy, but the Americans sneak out with a 98-88 win.
Kyrie and Carmelo Takeover: Kyrie Irving and Carmelo Anthony combined to score 26 of the 28 fourth quarter points for the Americans. It was Carmelo early, knocking down three three-pointers just minutes into the quarter and Irving late with several nice shots including a step-back three to ice the game. Melo was hot early and late evidenced by his 14 first quarter points and 13 fourth quarter points.
New Golden State Trio: The trio of Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green struggled tonight shooting a combined 8-30 from the field for 27 points. Thompson was taken out of the starting lineup in favor for Paul George. Thompson hit his first three of the game and it looked like he may have turned the corner but that wasn’t the case as he went 1-8 from the field the rest of the way. Durant’s shot was off tonight and tried to counter that by getting to the line. Only thing is, in international play, you’re allowed to commit more contact so calls he would have received in an NBA game, he wasn’t getting tonight.
The Americans are back in action on Friday where they’ll take on Serbia.