Team USA’s men’s basketball team faced its first test of the Rio Olympics on Wednesday, narrowly defeating Australia 98–88 in a Group A matchup. Here’s all you need to know:
Play of the game: The Bucks’ new $38 million man, Matthew Dellavedova, played like a maniac for Australia, finishing with a double-double and shooting 63 percent from the field. He tallied a whopping 11 assists on the evening, none prettier than this alley-oop to Andrew Bogut early in the second quarter:
Bogut’s dunk was surely a welcome sight for Mavs fans, who must have enjoyed watching their new center humiliate noted traitor DeAndre Jordan, patriotism be damned. Furthermore, it apparently prompted a German commentator to compare the suddenly lethal combination of Delly and Bogut to John Stockton and Karl Malone.
This may sound ridiculous, and of course it is. Stockton and Malone aren’t in Delly and Bogut’s league. The latter duo has rings, baby.
Player of the game: Pour one out for American hero Carmelo Anthony, whose first-quarter sharpshooting sent him past LeBron James to become Team USA’s all-time leading scorer. The King may have three NBA titles, four MVPs, and a $1 billion deal with Nike, but he’ll never mean as much to the Land of the Free as Melo does. Between his accomplishments with Team USA and Syracuse, Melo certainly has LeBron beat when it comes to non-NBA basketball (non–high school division).
We should have known some historical shit was about to go down when the camera panned to Matthew McConaughey, the Fireman Ed of Team USA:
Anthony finished the game with 31 points and eight rebounds, going 9-of-15 from beyond the arc. During one particularly crucial stretch in the fourth quarter, he hit 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions, giving the Americans a 78–74 lead they never relinquished.
We’d be remiss not to give a cursory shout-out to Spurs guard Patty Mills, who led the Aussies with 30 points on 11-of-22 shooting. He probably forced future Team USA coach Gregg Popovich to consider pursuing Australian citizenship:
Warriors Chemistry Watch: Oh boy. If you watch basketball for “the drama … the narratives, the comparisons, and the rankings,” then was USA–Australia ever the game for you. In what can only be interpreted as a massive trolling of Golden State fans, Bogut had a great game, accruing 15 points, three blocks, and loads of goon shit, including a shoulder-check on old Finals nemesis Kyrie Irving:
He also swatted Kevin Durant, which was a microcosm of KD’s abysmal outing:
Durant shot just 4-of-16 from the field; Twitter predictably lit up with Game 6 jokes. You just know Draymond Green and Klay Thompson are going to make him sleep in Harrison Barnes’s room on the cruise ship tonight. Meanwhile, Bogut — whom the Dubs traded to clear up cap space for KD — is probably out wearing LeBron’s tea lizard hat. Get this man a better space in the Olympic village, Kitty Chiller.
Concern Troll of the Game: For the first time since 2004, Team USA trailed at halftime, and it goes without saying that any similarities to the disappointing ’04 squad can’t be a good omen. Imagine if the Aussies had Ben Simmons and/or Dante Exum! The Americans actually could have lost.
Coach K’s halftime locker-room speech must have involved a threat to play Barnes, who, to reiterate, might not have a single friend on Team USA. I’m playing Barnes. I’m only playing Barnes. Australia versus the Black Falcon. One on fucking five. In any case, the Americans quickly retook the lead, and Barnes remained on the bench. Coincidence? I think not.