International Exhibitions See Nigeria & Australia go 2-0
The second set of exhibition games in preparation for the Tokyo Olympics which begin on July 23rd took place last night. Nigeria, fresh off a night where they made history beating Team USA for the first time ever, took on the number 4 ranked basketball country in the world in Argentina, who over the years have had a host of some of the world's best basketball players including Luis Scola who spent the majority of his career in the NBA and also Facundo Compazzo who is currently playing with the Denver Nuggets. Nigeria were able to come out with the overwhelming victory, defeating Argentina 94 - 71. Jahlil Okafor led D'Tigers in scoring with 15 PTS, whilst Josh Okogie and Chimezie Metu had 10 PTS each.
Team USA were looking to bounce back after falling to D'Tigers in the first game, as they prepared to take on a talented Australian team. With players such as Joe Ingles (Utah Jazz), Patty Mills (San Antonio Spurs), Matisse Thybulle (Philadelphia 76ers) and a host of talented NBL players including Chris Goulding, the Boomers weren't coming into the game looking just to compete and to learn. They came to win, and win they did. They took out Team USA 91 - 83 leaving the number 1 country in the world 0-2 after 2 exhibition matches against opponents that many will say they should have beaten. Patty Mills led the Boomers with 22 points shooting 42.9% from the field.
Many will be surprised by the results so far and will be looking not only at Team USA wondering if they will do well at the Olympics, but also the other teams that are competing. It can be very easy to forget, especially when you're a constant NBA fan, that there is A LOT of talented hoopers around the world who may be just as good, if not better, than some of the Team USA players. This isn't to say the USA roster is no good. On paper, it's the best team hands down and even despite these losses, when the Olympics rolls around, they will still be the favourites to win gold.
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