USA Basketball Men’s National Team got off to a rocky start during their series of exhibitions games in Las Vegas. Team USA lost their first two games to Nigeria and Australia but won its final two, including defeating a very good Spain team 83-76 on Sunday night.
Keldon Johnson, who was recently added to Team USA, was huge in this contest. The Spurs forward scored 10 of his 15 points in the third quarter, and Team USA, who trailed throughout the game until an 11-0 run helped the team take complete control in the third quarter.
“Just being active, being a spark,” said Johnson of his performance. “I’m here to be the energy guy and bring life to the team whenever we need it. In the third quarter when I came in, we needed a spark.”
Team USA and Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich added: “Keldon Johnson just played a really He shot if he was open, he made cuts to the bucket. When he did go to the bucket, he was very physical. And he was solid in the half-court defense. So, he had a very, very good night.”
Damian Lillard scored 19 points, Johnson had 15, Kevin Durant added 14, and Zach LaVine tallied 13 points for the
USA, which heads to Tokyo on Monday and will face France in its Olympic opener on July 25. The Americans have won the past three Olympic gold medals. Ricky Rubio led Spain with 23 points.
According to Popovich, after a slow start, Team USA is starting to come together.
“We just had our sixth practice the other day,” Popovich said. “And after these exhibition games, that’s what we look for — getting better at both ends of the court, learning how to play with each other, because these guys have never played together before. And I think we’re on the right track in that regard, so that’s what I feel good about.”
Team USA has played better in the last two games, and if they come together, talent-wise, there’s no better.
Photo: Team USA