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Team USA pulls away from pesky Aussies late in fourth

Anthony leads way with 31 points as Americans go to 3-0

POSTED: Aug 10, 2016 11:30 PM ET

By John Schuhmann

BY John Schuhmann


USA forward Jimmy Butler (4) shoots the ball against Australia during men's basketball preliminary round in the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games.

— The United States Men's National Team got its first test of the 2016 Olympics on Wednesday, and it was a serious one. Australia, having already defeated France and Serbia, went toe-to-toe with the tournament favorites for three and a half quarters before the Americans escaped with a 98-88 victory.

Carmelo Anthony saved his team with 31 points, including 14 in the fourth quarter. His personal 8-2 run early in the period gave the U.S. the lead for good. Kyrie Irving also had four key buckets in the final period, including a step-back 3-pointer over Joe Ingles that put the U.S. up seven with less than two minutes to go.

Australia led by as many as eight points in the first quarter, by as many as seven in the second and by five at the half. The U.S. seemingly took control with a 9-0 run to start the third quarter, but Australia responded to tie the game later in the period and took the lead again early in the fourth.

Kevin Durant made just two of his 10 shots in the first half, unable to take advantage of mismatches against much smaller defenders. He finished with 14 points on 4-for-16 shooting.

Patty Mills led Australia with 30 points, while Matthew Dellavedova (11 points and 11 assists) recorded his second straight double-double.

With a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 1:09 to go in the first quarter, Anthony became the all-time leading scorer in U.S. Olympic history, passing LeBron James (273). Anthony needed 13 points to tie his former USA teammate and had those 13 in the first five minutes of the game. The three put him ahead and his 31 points on Wednesday gave him 293 for his Olympic career.

The U.S. is now 133-5 in Olympic competition and has a 48-game winning streak in international tournaments. Its next game is Friday against Serbia, the team it beat in the gold medal game of the 2014 World Cup of Basketball.

John Schuhmann is a staff writer for You can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter.

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