Donovan Mitchell proud of Team USA’s 2nd-half effort as Kemba Walker asserts leadership
Team USA moved up to 2-0 in exhibition games after racing past Australia on Thursday with a 102-86 win in Melbourne. Donovan Mitchell and Kemba Walker were able to see a wave of faces in the crowd, including actor Russell Crowe at a sold-out Marvel Stadium.
Mitchell for one, was proud about how the Americans turned a one-point lead at the half into a comfortable 15-point cushion, thanks to a 32-18 run in the third quarter:
“The way we bounced back in the second half shows the character of this team,” Mitchell said, according to The Associated Press. “We played in front of 55,000 people — there’s going to be nerves, guys are going to be geeked up and ready to go. But once we settled down and started playing our basketball, we were in good shape.”
Walker asserted himself as the leader of the team by putting in work in the second half, scoring 16 of his 23 points after halftime in a barrage of drives to the basket and stop-and-pop mid-range jumpers:
“I’m one of the leaders of this team, so it’s important for me to set that tone,” said the Boston Celtics guard.
Walker took 22 shots in the game, seven more than Mitchell, who went 6-of-15 for 13 points. This guard duo will be expected to get the bulk of the shots coming into the World Cup, with only one cut to make after De’Aaron Fox and PJ Tucker withdrew from the team recently.
Team USA will need Walker to put the flag on his shoulders, now having done so for two consecutive games, standing out as the lone All-NBA name on the roster.