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Paul George: Team USA had to match physicality of ‘dirty’ Australia

Basketball - Olympics: Day 5

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 10: Matthew Dellavedova #8 of Australia goes to the basket against Paul George #13 of United States during the Men’s Preliminary Round Group A between Australia and the United States on Day 5 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Carioca Arena 1 on August 10, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

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Team USA earned a hard-fought win over Australia today.

A key?

Paul George on Australia, via Tony Harper of Fox Sports:

“We knew that coming in - this team has a knack for being a little dirty.”
“We just had to match their physicality,” said George. “That’s what we had to do. That’s the only way a team is going to get us out of our comfort zone is to muddy the game, doing little stuff to get to us.”

A team with Mathew Dellavedova and Andrew Bogut dirty? Why, I never.

George helped set the tone early by getting into a stare-down with Dellavedova, but Delly didn’t flinch, either. Both teams brought it in the showdown of undefeateds.

Were the Australians actually dirty? I say they were more unforgiving than dirty.

Of course, they’d agree. Harper:

Boomers legend and now assistant coach Luc Longley fired back in response: “Tell ‘em that’s international basketball.’’

There’s definitely more allowable contact in international play, and Australia took full advantage. Team USA responded enough in kind to allow its talent advantage to win out.