The story appears on

Page A15

August 22, 2019

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Sports » Basketball

Popovich sees Australia as World Cup threat to US

Team USA coach Gregg Popovich sees Australia as a title threat at the upcoming FIBA World Cup in China.

He’ll soon find out how much of a threat when the teams meet today in the first of two exhibition games in Melbourne. A record Australian basketball crowd of 50,000 is forecast for the match at Marvel Stadium. The second game is set for tomorrow.

“Huge, huge threat,” Popovich said of the Boomers. “They are one of the teams that can win the whole thing, without a doubt. I’m not saying that because I’m here. It’s just a fact.”

“They’ve been close for several years, and they are hungry. They are talented. They have the toughness and physicality to go with it. I think they are one of the top contenders without a doubt.”

Australia, led by Patty Mills, who is coached by Popovich at San Antonio, lost the bronze medal match at the 2016 Olympics to Spain.

The United States team is thin on superstars, with only Kemba Walker, Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez combining for five National Basketball Association All-Star appearances in comparison to its last Olympics squad which had 33.

But Walker, who last month joined Boston after eight seasons in Charlotte, said criticism was spurring the team on ahead of its title defense in China.

“We don’t care — we want to be here and are putting in the time to be here and we definitely take that as motivation,” Walker said yesterday. “We have a bunch of guys who don’t mind being the underdogs. We are hungry and we are going to go out there to try and win a gold medal.”

Walker said he, Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell and Celtics guard Marcus Smart would share the captaincy duties as part of a leadership group. “I take pride in being a leader and guys looking to me and I’m here to set the tempo and bring my experience and energy,” he said.

Australia, meanwhile, hopes to end 55 years of frustration against the US. The Americans have won all 25 games against Australia since 1964.

In Sydney, Phil Scrubb scored 24 points to lead Canada to a 103-100 overtime win over New Zealand in a pre-World Cup exhibition game yesterday.

Corey Webster led New Zealand with 33 points, including a 3-point play with 13 seconds left that forced the game into overtime at 81-81.

On Tuesday, Canada beat New Zealand 122-88. Canada plays Team USA next Monday, also in Sydney.

The World Cup begins in China on August 31.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend