RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL—After a month of lopsided victories, the United States were pushed to the limit on Wednesday against Australia, barely escaping with a victory, 98-88. The one two punch of Carmelo Anthony and Kyrie Irving carried the U.S. in crunch time, scoring every point in the fourth quarter.
Anthony became the all-time leading scorer in U.S. Olympic history on an afternoon when the Americans needed all of his 31 points. Kyrie Irving is building on his superb NBA Finals performance, his 10 points in the fourth quarter highlighted by a step back 3-pointer proved to be the final nail in the coffin.
Australia has proven themselves a worthy foe who is not intimidated by the star power of Team USA. Five members of Team Australia currently play in the NBA, including Patty Mills who led the Aussies with 30 points. In fact, Australia led at halftime 54-49. It was the first time since the 2004 Olympics the United States has trailed going into the locker room.
Australia has defeated Serbia and France in these Olympics. The U.S. went on a 9-0 run to open the second half, yet, Australia kept crawling back every time. The game progressed into a very physical contest, with Australian Center Andrew Bogut adept at playing the villain. After a particularly hard foul in front of the United States bench, the normally subdued head coach of Team USA, Mike Krzyzewski shot up and yelled in the refs face.
Team USA will face Serbia on Friday at 3:00 p.m. on NBC Sports Network. This test from Australia will strengthen the resolve of the Red, White and Blue!