USA Olympic team forward Paul George said that he knew the Americans were going to get a tough test from the Australians during their Group A match up on Wednesday.
“We knew we were going to get their best,” George said. “It was an adjustment for us. This game kind of got out of hand with the chippy (play) and the physical play. We knew that coming in. This team has a knack for being a little dirty. I thought the second half we did a good job of just matching it.”
Team USA trailed at halftime and used a strong second half to hold off Australia 98-88, improving to 3-0 in this Olympics while extending its international play winning streak to 71 games.
Team USA tried to set the tone early. Australia and Milwaukee Bucks guard Matthew Dellavedova was bumped hard by George less than six minutes in, and George received a technical foul.
"I was going to let him know that it wasn’t going to go the way that they thought it was going to go,” George said. “We just had to match their physicality. That’s all it came down to. That’s the only way teams are going to be able to get us out of our comfort zone is to try to muddy the game up, do the little stuff to try to get to us.”
Both teams are back in action on Friday. Team USA takes on Serbia (1-2 in group play) while Australia will match up with China, which has lost all three of its Group A games.
- Scooby Axson