The U.S. men’s basketball team survived a scare against Australia on Wednesday, in what turned out to be the most competitive game they have played at the Rio Olympics so far. The United States looked like it was headed towards its first loss in three consecutive Olympics before Carmelo Anthony brought the team back and led them to victory.
Anthony scored 14 of the team’s final 18 points, finishing the game with 31 points. Anthony also moved into first place on the all-time scoring list for the U.S. men’s team, and second place on the all-time rebounding list.
“I was in my zone,” Anthony said. “My teammates found me when I was open. I didn’t try to go get it. Everything happened in the flow of the basketball game.”
Anthony added that they men’s team was expecting a tough outing against Australia because they Aussies have a very tough team with some talented NBA players on it.
“We expected a game like this,” said Anthony, who was on the last U.S. team to lose a game in the Olympics in 2004. “It was a physical game, a grind-out game. We knew it was going to come down to the end of the game, where we’d have to buckle down and make plays down the stretch.”
Anthony got some help from Kyrie Irving, who added 19 points for the Americans, and Kevin Durant added 14 points but shot the ball poorly, finishing 4-16 from the field.
Anthony’s teammates praised his performance against Australia, and acknowledged they wouldn’t have won the game if Anthony didn’t play like he did.
“If he doesn’t make the shots he made, we lose tonight,” forward Paul George said. “His shots were big. He took it upon himself to lead us, and he’s been doing this for many years. He’s special. We don’t get this without him.”
After their emotional win over Australia, the team now has to focus their attention on Serbia, the team they will be playing on Friday.
Serbia is currently 1-2, and the team is coming off a painful one-point loss to France. Unlike Australia, they don’t have as much talent, but they can still defeat the U.S. team if they play very good defense and can get their jumpers to fall.
Bogdan Bogdanovic, whose draft rights belong to the Phoenix Suns, has been one of the bright spots for Serbia during their Olympic run, and the team will turn to him again for some offense. This time around, he won’t be able to score as easily has he’s done so far because he will be facing the best defensive team he has played so far.
After their scare against Australia, expect the Americans to come out firing to avoid finding themselves in the same situation they were in on Wednesday.
USA vs Serbia Betting Spread
Bovada.lv has the Americans favored to win this game by 23.5 points. Check out our full Bovada review here.
The Serbian team will play hard in the first quarter but will eventually be overwhelmed by the Americans who will cruise to an easy victory.
Play: USA -23.5 @ Bovada.lv
Olympics Basketball • Olympics basketball betting