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Team USA looks to keep improving versus Argentina

Needing a win, Team USA turns attention to Argentina looking to right the ship.

Something is going to have to give as both teams are 0-2 and searching for their first win in exhibition play ahead of the Olympic games in Tokyo.

The Michelob Ultra Arena will play host to the third exhibition game for Team USA against Argentina Tuesday, July 13.

Tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m.

The games in Tokyo are expected to begin Sunday, July 25.

Team USA is coming off a 91-83 loss to Australia sending the team to back-to-back exhibition losses for the first time since professionals began playing in 1992.

Even with the loss, head coach Gregg Popovich is happy about the team’s improvement to this point.

“I was pleased, I thought we got better [against Australia],” he said. “After a short time together, a lot of things have to be covered. But the first half and second half were two different beasts.”

In terms of improving, one major point of emphasis was ball movement.

Both Popovich and guard Damian Lillard acknowledged this fact despite only putting up one more assist than the exhibition opener.

“The first thing that comes to mind with me is these teams are experienced and have spent a lot more time together,” LIllard said. “We are still working at becoming a team, we’re still getting our legs under us, getting in shape.”

Against Nigeria, the US national team tallied 19 assists before upping that mark to 20 against Australia.

In addition, six players scored in double-figures against Nigeria on 41% shooting from the field.

Two nights later, only three players scored 10 or more but it was done a more efficient 46% from the floor.

“We all know how to play basketball,” forward Jayson Tatum said. “Throughout the game, there were certain points where it felt like we were taking turns instead of just moving, passing to one guy and letting him do his thing.”

One thing that’s worth noting is with the increased ball movement came more turnovers.

Lillard pointed to times the team had good ball movement and then maybe made one pass too many resulting in a turnover.

Team USA committed just seven turnovers against Nigeria Saturday, July 10 but had 12 by the end of the night against Australia.

“We’re not just going to roll the ball out and beat these teams,” Lillard said. “We have to play the right way, compete and we have to come out here to win and we have to do anything to give ourselves our best chance to win. If not, we can be beat.”


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