On a night where seat viewing problems seemed to gain much of the attention, the USA strut their stuff and turned the screws in the second half to down the Boomers 102-86 in game one of two exhibition games in Melbourne in front of a solid 51,000 people.
In a match-up that had been in the wings months before and the build-up growing more and more as the game reached closer, the anticipation for the game was at fever pitch.
Despite a number of big-name players from both sides withdrawing from the exhibition games, the game was still expected to produce high-level basketball, and the fans definitely got that.
Australia battled hard on both ends of the floor to only be down by a single point at half-time, but once the second half hit, the USA turned to another gear and found their rhythm that soundly put away the Boomers in convincing fashion.
With six players in total scoring at least 10 points, led by captain Kemba Walker (23 points) and athletic big man Myles Turner (15 points and 14 rebounds), USA were able to pull away in the second half with some blistering offense and lock-down defense that Australia struggled to match.
As expected, the class and craftiness of the USA on the offensive end shone through as the swift ball movement got better and better as the game went on, dropping 31 points in the third quarter and putting the game totally out of Australia’s reach.
Domination on the rebounds (54-36) also contributed immensely into the victory for the Americans who will go into game two on Saturday afternoon with a world of confidence.
Patty Mills (19 points) and Chris Goulding (19 points) led the way for the Boomers who battled mightily, but were not able to overcome the more superior USA outfit on the night.
“We came out not quite to the level we needed to be,” Goulding said.
“I think we’ll be better for the run and better on Saturday.”
“The World Cup is where we want to peak,” Mills explained.
“This is a good hit-out for us.”
Australia is currently 1-2 in their World Cup preparations, and still have plenty of work to do if they are to turn their fortunes around before not only the World Cup, but against the USA again on Saturday afternoon.