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Basketball: Team USA drops Olympic exhibition vs. Australia

Coach Gregg Popovich and the Team USA men's basketball team have now lost two consecutive games in Olympic exhibition play. Photo by Alex Plavevski/EPA-EFE
Coach Gregg Popovich and the Team USA men's basketball team have now lost two consecutive games in Olympic exhibition play. Photo by Alex Plavevski/EPA-EFE

July 13 (UPI) -- The Team USA men's basketball squad sustained its second consecutive upset, losing to Australia in an Olympic exhibition game in Las Vegas.

San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills paced Australia with 22 points in the 91-83 win Monday at Michelob Ultra Arena at Mandalay Bay. Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard led Team USA with 22 points.

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Australia outscored Team USA 54-37 in the second half.

Team USA entered the exhibition slate with a 54-2 record since 1992. The Americans now are losers of two such games in three days. Nigeria beat Team USA 90-87 on Saturday in Las Vegas.

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"These teams are experienced, and we are still working at becoming a team," Lillard told reporters. "We're not just going to roll the ball out and beat these teams."

Lillard scored eight points in the first quarter to lead Team USA to a 27-24 edge through the first 10 minutes. Lillard and Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal chipped in another eight points apiece in the second and Team USA led 46-37 at halftime.

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Australia started the third on a 9-3 run. They added a 10-2 run later in the quarter and went on to tie the score on a Dante Exum layup with 1:40 remaining. Team USA and Australia traded baskets in the final minutes until Chris Goulding gave the Australians a 66-64 lead with a jump shot with 36 seconds remaining.

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Team USA bounced back and took an 82-80 lead on a Jayson Tatum layup with 4:35 left in the game. Mills responded with a go-ahead layup with 3:42 remaining and the Australians never looked back. Australia ended the game on an 11-1 run.

Utah Jazz forward Joe Ingles scored 17 points for Australia. Philadelphia 76ers guard Matisse Thybulle and Goulding scored 12 and 11 points, respectively, in the win.

Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant scored 17 points in the loss. Beal chipped in 12 points for Team USA.

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"We have had close games against four or five international teams, and the good teams don't get blown out," Team USA coach Gregg Popovich told reporters

Team USA battles Argentina in another exhibition game at 6 p.m. EDT Tuesday in Las Vegas. Nigeria beat Argentina 94-71 on Monday. Australia beat Argentina 87-84 on Saturday in Las Vegas.

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Team USA battles France in the preliminary round of the Tokyo Olympics at 8 p.m. EDT July 25 at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.

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Simone Biles stands on the floor after winning the gold medal in the floor exercise at the Olympic Arena of the Rio Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro on August 16, 2016. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

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