No matter who was missing for Team USA, who was there put on a statement performance on a spectacular night at Marvel Stadium on Thursday to come away with the 102-84 victory over the Australian Boomers.
Much of the talk in the build-up might have been surrounding the players not representing the USA ahead of the FIBA World Cup in China now just over a week away, but it was a well-coached and smooth moving American outfit in a remarkable atmosphere at Marvel Stadium.
A crowd of 51,218 created one of the most spectacular sights in the history of Australian basketball and while there were some encouraging signs for the Boomers ahead of the World Cup, the USA team did prove too strong winning by 18 points.
Just knowing it’s a USA team coached by Gregg Popovich with Steve Kerr his assistant should have said it all that there might be superstars missing, but this is an American team still focused on gold at China over the next month.
USA’s size and athleticism helped them finish with 54 rebounds to 36 which led to 13 more shots and going 41/85 at 48 per cent from the floor and 13/30 at 43 per cent from deep.
Australia did get to the line 21 times to nine but shot 29/72 at 40 per cent from the field and 12/29 at 41 per cent three-point range.
While the Boomers did make an impressive run thanks to Chris Goulding and Patty Mills heading into half-time, USA dominated the second half with new Boston Celtics All-Star Kemba Walker leading from the front with 23 points and six rebounds.
Myles Turner was impressive inside with 15 points and 14 rebounds while Donovan Mitchell produced 13 points and three assists, Kyle Kuzma 12 points, Jaylen Brown 11 points and six rebounds, and Jayson Tatum 11 points and four assists.
Patty Mills put up 19 points and three assists for the Boomers but it was the performance of Chris Goulding that stood out as he delivered 19 points and four rebounds including hitting 4/6 from downtown.
Matthew Dellavedova added 10 points and six assists with Jock Landale producing 10 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two statement blocks.
Aron Baynes finished with eight points and six rebounds, Andrew Bogut six points, five assists and four boards, and Joe Ingles six points and five rebounds.
USA scored the game’s first six points through Donovan Mitchell, Myles Turner Joe Harris before the Boomers got on the board courtesy of a Patty Mills triple.
Australia then settled with triples as well to Matthew Dellavedova and Aron Baynes before USA only led 22-20 after one.
An and-one from Joe Ingles and then flush from Andrew Bogut gave Australia the lead to open the second term but the United States responded with an 11-0 run, and would go on to lead by 11 when Jayson Tatum knocked down one from deep.
But the Boomers hit back impressively led by a couple of triples from Chris Goulding and then six late points for Mills saw the margin just one at half-time.
With Turner, Harrison Barnes and Mitchell all knocking down threes to start the second, USA’s lead grew to double-figures quickly again and on the back of that the visitors were able to lead by 15 at three quarter-time.
The Boomers kept fighting and there were some encouraging signs including the work as a passer and inside of Andrew Bogut while Nathan Sobey and Mitch Creek had their moments, but Kemba Walker took over for the USA for a stretch and they went on to win 100-84.
Game 2 will be back at Marvel Stadium between the Boomers and USA on Saturday afternoon from 2pm AEST.
WORLD CUP EXHIBITION GAME
AUSTRALIAN BOOMERS 86 (Patty Mills 19, Chris Goulding 19, Jock Landale 10, Matthew Dellavedova 10)
USA BASKETBALL 102 (Kemba Walker 23, Myles Turner 15, Donovan Mitchell 13)