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Turner Tallies Double-Double in USA's Exhibition Win

Pacers Center Racks Up 15 Points, 14 Boards in Victory over Australia
by Wheat Hotchkiss
Pacers.com Writer/Editor
@Wheat_Hotchkiss

Pacers center Myles Turner put together his best performance so far with the United States Men's National Team on Thursday, helping lead USA Basketball to a 102-86 victory over Australia in the first of two exhibitions against the Boomers in Melbourne.

Turner registered the game's only double-double, collecting 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting and 14 rebounds over just 18:52 of action. He also added two assists in the win, which came before over 51,000 fans at Marvel Stadium, a venue typically used for Australian rules football.

"I think we are getting better and better," Turner said. "That's the whole thing. We got to make strides. We have to do what we have to do day in and day out, and we are getting there."

PHOTO GALLERY: Myles Turner at USA Basketball Training in Australia »

The Pacers' fifth-year center started Thursday's game for the United States alongside Kemba Walker, Joe Harris, Donovan Mitchell, and Jaylen Brown. He missed a jumper on his first shot attempt of the night, but hustled to collect the rebound and put it back up and in. Turner pulled down five boards over the first 4:07 before subbing out for the first time.

Turner returned to the lineup early in the second quarter. He got another two points on a putback of Walker's miss with 6:52 remaining in the frame.

Turner finished the first half with four points and nine rebounds. The Americans led by as many 11 points when he checked out with 2:36 left in the half, but Australia closed the second quarter with a 12-2 run to make it a one-point game at the break.

Head coach Gregg Popovich made one change to his starters to open the second half, swapping Harrison Barnes for Brown. Australia actually took the lead on Aron Baynes' layup 38 seconds into the third quarter, but Turner put the Americans back in front with another putback of a Walker miss at the 8:19 mark.

The Americans would never relinquish the lead the rest of the way, as Turner's putback sparked a 13-0 run. After a layup by Walker, Turner added a 3-pointer with 7:19 remaining in the frame. Barnes and Mitchell followed suit with treys of their own to give the U.S. a comfortable cushion.

Turner subbed out with 4:49 remaining in the third quarter, but returned to the floor to start the fourth, where he helped put the game on ice. After a layup by Australia's Matthew Dellavedova made it 78-66 with 8:42 to play, Turner reeled off six straight points to push the Americans' lead up to 18. He drew a foul and hit both free throws, knocked down a jumper on the next possession, then added another jumper 36 seconds later.

All told, the United States outscored Australia by 26 points when Turner was on the floor on Thursday.

"Myles Turner came in and gave us a big punch there," Popovich said after the game. "He was great."

Added Turner: "My role is to go out there and just be a force on defense and get on the board. The biggest thing for me is getting rebounds and going out there and doing whatever the team needs me to do."

Walker led all scorers with 23 points, while Mitchell added 13 points and three assists. Kyle Kuzma (12 points), Brown (11 points and six rebounds), and Jayson Tatum (11 points, three rebounds, and four assists) also reached double figures for the Americans.

Patty Mills led Australia with 19 points, three assists, and two steals. Chris Goulding also tallied 19 points off the bench for the Boomers, going 4-for-6 from 3-point range.

The United States will practice again in Melbourne on Friday before playing another exhibition against Australia on Saturday. That game will occur at 12:00 AM ET (2:00 PM in Melbourne) and will air live on NBA TV and Twitch. They will then travel to Sydney, where they will square off against Canada in a final exhibition on Monday before heading to China for the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

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