2012 Olympic Basketball: USA vs. Australia -- Preview and Predictions

“We can be beat…”

Those were the words of Kevin Durant addressing the Associated Press. It’s a statement that may or may not needed to have been said, because the fact remains that while the US team can be beaten, they likely won’t…not if they keep their noses to the grindstone.

That statement will be tested first tonight against Australia. Can the Aussies give the US a run?

I doubt it, but they did beat the Russians (4-1), one of the stronger teams in pool play. It was Russia’s lone loss, so the US should definitely be cautious against this Aussie team. In that game, Joe Ingles led the way for AUS, putting up 20 points on an outstanding 8 of 11 shooting performance. They managed the victory without even receiving an outstanding performance from NBA guard Patty Mills, who managed only 13 points on 5 of 16 shooting. Mills has consistently been AUS’ best player, and he put up 39 points in the blowout victory over Luol Deng and Great Britain. Between Mills, Ingles, former Houston Rocket David Andersen, and former second round pick Joel Freeland, the Australian team has some weapons…

But can any of those weapons do much damage against the undefeated Americans?

Doubtful.

Tony Parker already showed that even the best of the best at point guard can’t counter the three headed monster of Chris Paul, Deron Williams, and Russell Westbrook. If Parker couldn’t do it, what would make us think Mills could?

Moreover, AUS’ talented big men are only talented against mediocre competition. Can one really expect backup caliber NBA centers like Andersen and Freeland to give Kevin Love and Tyson Chandler problems? Love is the best rebounder in the NBA and Chandler won the Defensive Player of the Year award.

Those Australian strengths are entirely negated by the US’ dominant roster. The Vegas spread is set at 33 points, but I don’t really even see it being that close. The Americans are going to use this as a statement game and it will be a chance to prove to the rest of the teams that this gold medal definitively belongs to the US. Kevin Durant, LeBron James, and Kobe Bryant have saved their best for the medal rounds, and that dominance should be showcased tonight.

Prediction: US by 41.

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Tags: 2012 Olympics Australia Kevin Durant Kobe Bryant Lebron James Olympic Basketball TEam USA

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