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We'll play them again: Durant

12 August 2016

BASKETBALL: Superstar Kevin Durant believes USA will meet the Australian team later in the knockout phase of the Rio 2016 competition.

The Aussies gave the gold medal favourites an almighty scare at Carioca Arena 1, leading at the half by five before USA eventually pulled away with a few minutes remaining.

Patty Mills had 30 points and Matt Dellavedova had 11 points, six rebounds and 11 assists as the Aussies didn’t take a backwards step against the US team.

“They were great and they made it tough all night,” said Durant, who is rated one of the world’s best.  

“It was a great a tussle and I’m sure we’ll play these guys again.

“They can go pretty far and we’ll have to be better prepared if we run into them again.”

Australian big men Andrew Bogut and Aron Baynes have been massive for the Australian team in their opening three matches, which included strong wins over France and Serbia.

“They’re playing pretty well but I thought our bigs did a great job being physical on them,” Durant continued.

“DeAndre (Jordan) and DeMarcus (Cousins) were great on the boards.

“We missed a lot of shots and they were moving pretty freely on offense so we know we have to get a bit more physical.”

Having now been challenged for the first time in Rio, Durant believes his side will be better for it.

“It was a tough game but adversity is always good,” he said. “I think we fought through it early on in the first half but we won the second half by 15 which is good for us to see where we are, we needed it.

“I think that every time we come out for the USA we have one of these games which is good for us.”

The Australians wrap up their competition with matches against China and Venezuela, who currently sit in fifth and sixth in the six-team group.

If they are victorious in both of those matches, and the USA do as expected and win their final two, Australia win finish second in Group A.

That would mean they could not face the US until either the gold or bronze medal match in Rio.

Matt Bartolo

olympics.com.au

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