Blazers

Damian Lillard leads 2nd-half surge for Team USA in win vs. Spain

Blazers

Despite trailing for most of the game, a dominant close to the game showed why the United States of America is the overwhelming favorite to take home the gold medal this summer as Team USA defeated Spain, 83-76 in Las Vegas to close exhibition play.

Next up? Tokyo.

Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard once again started for Team USA, playing a game-high 32 minutes en route to 19 points, six assists, four rebounds and four steals.

Dame was +12 for the game and hit the go-ahead three-pointer midway through the third quarter to give Team USA its first lead since the opening minutes of the game.

In total, Lillard hit 4-of-11 three-point attempts and 6-of-14 total field goal attempts. 

In addition to Lillard's performance, two Americans appearef to break out just in time for Olympic play to begin: Zach Lavine and Keldon Johnson.

The Bulls guard ignited an offensive spark scoring 13 points spacing the floor, throwing down impressive slam dunks and  playing with energy on defense. HIs role will expand with Bradley Beal missing the tournament due to COVID-19, however Devin Booker is expected to start in Tokyo. 

Johnson, who got elevated to the main roster following Kevin Love dropping out, was a game-high +18 in 17 minutes, scoring 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting.

"Keldon Johnson just played a solid basketball game," Gregg Popovich, Johnson's NBA and Team USA head coach, said. "He shot it when he was open and when he did go to the bucket he was very physical."

 

Ricky Rubio scored a game-high 23 points for Spain.

Next, the Americans will travel overseas to Tokyo where Olympic play opens on Sunday, July 25th at 5:00 a.m. PST versus France, who eliminated Team USA in the 2019 FIBA World Cup quartefinals. 

"We've been preparing for France for two years," Popovich added. "I think about it every day."