Patty Mills Leads Australia to Comeback Win vs USA in 2019 FIBA World Cup Tuneup

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 24, 2019

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 24: Patty Mills of the Boomers (L) and Nicholas Kay of the Boomers steal the ball from Jayson Tatum of the USA during game two of the International Basketball series between the Australian Boomers and United States of America at Marvel Stadium on August 24, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images)
Kelly Defina/Getty Images

The United States men's basketball team suffered its first loss while using NBA players in nearly 13 years Saturday morning, as Australia pulled off a 98-94 upset in a FIBA Basketball World Cup warm-up game at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne.

"They wanted it more than us tonight," Team USA guard Kemba Walker told reporters. "Lesson learned for us."

It marked the end of a 78-game winning streak for the U.S. senior men's national team.

Patty Mills, who plays for U.S. head coach Gregg Popovich with the San Antonio Spurs, led all scorers with 30 points. Longtime NBA center Andrew Bogut added 16 points and nine rebounds off the bench.

Walker led Team USA with 22 points.

The typically dominant Americans looked vulnerable leading into the World Cup after a mass exodus of superstar-level talent in recent months. The patchwork roster lacks the usual firepower that allowed the country to capture three straight Olympic gold medals.

Team USA, who registered a 90-81 victory over Spain last week and defeated the Aussies 102-86 in their first meeting Thursday, struggled in just about every aspect in the rematch.

The U.S. shot just 44 percent from the field, including 33 percent from three-point range, got outrebounded 41-35 and posted a lackluster 11-10 assist-to-turnover ratio.

"Some of it is expected with a new group that's trying to learn about each other and learn a system," Popovich told reporters. "So it's not surprising. But the Aussies gave us a great lesson as far as where we want to be and how you have to play in this kind of a competition."

Basketball Forever @Bballforeverfb

Today marks Basketball Australia's FIRST EVER win over Team USA! Previously, the Boomers were 0-66 against the United States. https://t.co/Zf7MTFiUTV

The Americans are listed a 4-9 favorite ahead of the tournament, per OddsChecker. The team's loss to Australia (33-1 odds) and general lack of overwhelming performances so far in the exhibition games suggests a gold medal in China is far from guaranteed, though.

Bogut's strong game was the headliner of a terrific performance down low by the Boomers. They shot 65 percent on two-point attempts, highlighting potential problems defensively on the interior for the U.S.

The United States will play a final tune-up game Monday against rival Canada in Sydney before traveling to China. The Americans open the World Cup on Sept. 1 against the Czech Republic.