Anyone who doubts that Team USA will return from the Tokyo Olympics with anything other than a gold medal may well have to rethink their analysis. U.S coach Gregg Popovich watched on as his side took apart Argentina in an exhibition match ahead of the showpiece event later this summer.
Team USA romped past Argentina 108-80 on Tuesday after they’d fallen to surprise defeats against Nigeria and Australia in their previous encounters. The Las Vegas victory was built largely off the back of solid displays from Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal, who scored 17 points each.
Zach LaVine picked up 15 points also as Team USA ran out victors against their opponents for the 10th consecutive time and should help keep the doubters at bay. The odds on Team USA picking up a fourth successive Olympic gold sit around -300, while Argentina are considered by most sports books as fourth or fifth favorite.
On the subject of who could really stand out in the Team USA line-up one need not look any further than the three players who are still taking part in NBA action at this late stage. Milwaukee Bucks standouts Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday and Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker are sure to make an impact.
A lot could depend on how long the finals run for and on that front it’s worth staying up on the best odds offered by the leading bookmakers via Sidelines as you could significantly increase your payout by selecting the right sportsbook at the right time, especially as the odds are fluctuating with such regularity.
Team USA will begin their Olympic fixtures on July 25th, against France, and that comes just three days after a potential game seven in the NBA finals, which wouldn’t leave much rest time for key members of Popovich’s side.
After the win Popovich was relatively calm but happy with the performance, stating;
I thought we sustained our [stamina] pretty well. Against Australia we competed well, rebounded, played defense, ran the floor and had good pace for a half and then it dissipated for a half. Tonight, we maintained that pretty much throughout the game. Hopefully that's a sign we're getting better.
Gregg Popovich, ESPN
A much improved Beal commented,
A sense of urgency is what we're kind of preaching... Today, we got better, but there's still a lot more we can improve on. We're moving in the right direction.
Bradley Beal, ESPN
Popovich’s side face up against Australia again on the 16th before finishing their pre-tournament warm-ups with a match against Olympic second favorites Spain.
Coach Popovich is keeping his feet on the ground about the prospect of picking up top honors in Japan and has commented on the importance of the player’s conditioning ahead of the tournament;
The last thing we want to do is overwork people to the point where we get injuries, but the first priority is we have to get back in shape. We're going to continue to work hard like we need to. Without the condition we can't get this done.
Gregg Popovich, ESPN