Team USA's 78-game international win streak snapped with Australia loss

Team USA's 78-game international win streak snapped with Australia loss

Don't bet on the B team. 

In stunning fashion, the United States Men's National Basketball Team had their 78-game international winning streak snapped on Friday with a 98-94 loss to Australia. The loss was Team USA's first defeat in a major international tournament or exhibition since the 2006 world championship semifinals. 

With the 2019 FIBA World Cup a week away, this depleted Team USA is far from winning gold. 

Kings forward Harrison Barnes is a veteran for Team USA and scored 20 points in the loss. He was Team USA's second-leading scorer behind Celtics point guard Kemba Walker, who dropped 22. Barnes also led Team USA with six rebounds and made three of his five 3-point attempts. 

Team USA, led by Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and Warriors coach Steve Kerr, had no answer for Australia's pesky point guard Patty Mills. The longtime Spurs guard, who Popovich is well acquainted with, scored a game-high 30 points and drained four shots from beyond the arc. 

[RELATED: Why winning 73 games didn't end in a Warriors championship]

"As I told you all after the last game, Patty's a pain,'' Popovich told reporters. 

Team USA's next tune-up before the World Cup comes Monday in Sydney, Australia against Canada.

Warriors will have 'huge advantage' next season, Charles Barkley says

Warriors will have 'huge advantage' next season, Charles Barkley says

For once, the Warriors will want to listen to what Charles Barkley has to say. The "Inside the NBA" analyst said on Friday's broadcast that he thinks Golden State will have a leg up on its competitors in 2020-21.

Why? Mostly because the Warriors aren't participating in the restarted NBA season.

"I think they're gonna have a huge advantage because they're gonna get rest and get Klay (Thompson) and Steph (Curry) back," Barkley said Friday, with Warriors star Draymond Green serving as a guest analyst alongside him. "(Andrew) Wiggins is gonna be there, they're gonna get a lottery pick. These other teams are gonna be tired. ... It's gonna be a quick turnaround, one way or the other. Even if [the NBA says] they're gonna move [the season] back, it's still gonna be a quick turnaround. I think [the Warriors] are gonna have a huge advantage going into next season."

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

The Warriors were eliminated from playoff contention on March 10, a day before the NBA announced it was suspending the season due to the coronavirus. Golden State was 15-50 at the time, and thus wasn't among the 22 teams invited to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex to jockey for position and play out the postseason.

Klay Thompson didn't play in a single game while rehabbing a torn ACL he sustained in the 2019 NBA Finals, and Steph Curry played in just five after he broke his hand on Oct. 30, 2019. Kevin Durant's departure last summer meant growing pains were a given for the 2019-20 season and Thompson's play was never a given, but few predicted the Warriors would need to roll with that many punches.

It's not all bad for the Warriors moving forward, as Barkley noted. Golden State is guaranteed a top-five pick, has a sizeable trade exception and should benefit from Curry, Green and Thompson getting much-needed rest. The trio isn't getting any younger after playing more games than just about anyone from 2014 to '19, but the Warriors are betting that February's trade for Wiggins and October's draft pick will inject some much-needed youth into the team.

Refreshed legs playing alongside younger ones could do wonders, especially because the Warriors' elite competitors will be playing well into the fall. Next season tentatively is scheduled to begin in December, and the Finals don't begin until Sept. 30. For reference, the Warriors opened the 2019-20 season over four months after bowing out to the Toronto Raptors in the 2019 Finals.

If the 2020 Finals go to a Game 7 on Oct. 13, this year's finalists could have fewer than two months in between starting the next season if it begins in December as targeted. The NBA reportedly could push back next season's start as late as March, but the Warriors will be refreshed regardless.

[RELATED: Warriors in Orlando bubble reportedly a non-starter for NBA]

Will that all be enough to get the Warriors back to the Finals? A lot has to go Golden State's way this offseason, and the NBA still has a lot of hurdles to clear before next season takes shape let alone begins.

But it sure sounds like Charles Barkley thinks a jump-shooting team can win a championship. It might be time to check the skies for pigs and Hell for its temperature.

NBA rumors: Warriors could start season as late as March if fans allowed

NBA rumors: Warriors could start season as late as March if fans allowed

The Warriors last played on March 10, losing to the Los Angeles Clippers 131-107 at Chase Center a day before the NBA suspended its season due to the coronavirus.

It reportedly could be as long as a year before they get back in the win column.

While the NBA still is targeting a Dec. 1 start date for the 2020-21 season, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Saturday morning that the league could push back the beginning of next season if there was "a level of confidence that a delay would ultimately result in the reopening of arenas to the public." Wojnarowski reported that opening the season on Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Jan. 18), and potentially as late as February or March, provided "a combination of vaccines, therapeutics and rapid-response-testing" reach a point where public gatherings are possible.

Allowing fans in stadiums and arenas falls under Phase 4 of San Francisco and California's reopening plans. Neither the city nor the state has cleared Phase 2. San Francisco remains on California's watchlist, and the state became the first in the country to have over 500,000 positive tests just under three weeks after Gov. Gavin Newsom rolled back plans to reopen California's economy.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

The NBA could hold games in practice facilities if the season starts in December, and potentially neutral-site games if some cities allow fans to attend games. Wojnarowski reported that teams playing in cities that don't allow fans in the stands could even move their operations to other cities that do.

Since the NBA first suspended its season, nearly 5 million Americans have tested positive for COVID-19 and over 160,000 have died. Public-health experts and officials are concerned about the coronavirus' spread worsening in the fall as students return to schools, the weather gets colder and more people spend more time indoors and some cities and states continue not to enforce social distancing and mask-wearing.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institue of Allergy and Infectious Disease, said earlier this week the country must decrease its daily case count to 10,000 by September in order to control the coronavirus' spread. The United States had over 60,000 new cases on Friday.

"If we don't get them down, then we're going to have a really bad situation in the fall," Fauci said.

Wojnarowski reported that the NBA, as a result, is considering regional bubbles for next seasons. In one idea Wojnarwoski mentioned, teams would play in a bubble for a month, return to their own cities for up to two weeks and then move to a new bubble with a different group of teams.

[RELATED: Warriors in Orlando bubble reportedly a 'non-starter' for NBPA]

If the NBA's priority becomes a reality, the Warriors would've gone 266 days between regular-season games.

The wait to play again in front of their fans will be much longer than that, and the league seems to be bracing for that likelihood.