Matisse Thybulle’s ability to guard the NBA’s best players was no mystery.
The All-Defensive Second Team selection showcased his talents on an international stage Monday night, posting 12 points on 5-for-7 shooting (2 for 3 from three-point range), three steals, two blocks and three assists in the Australian Boomers’ 91-83 pre-Olympics exhibition win over Team USA.
The loss dropped the Americans to 0-2 in exhibition play following a defeat Saturday night to Nigeria. Australia is 2-0 after Patty Mills’ buzzer-beating three-pointer to clinch a win over Argentina. Thybulle was a standout in that game, recording 15 points, four steals and three blocks.
Mills was again the Boomers’ go-to guy in the fourth quarter, supplying key baskets and an assist to Thybulle that gave Australia an 86-82 lead.
Thybulle closed out the game and impressively blocked Kevin Durant in the final period.
His second-quarter swat of Damian Lillard was also of the highlight variety.
Team USA held a nine-point halftime lead but allowed Australia to go on a run late in the third quarter. Chris Goulding’s three-pointer at the third-period buzzer gave the Boomers a five-point edge, and they executed better than Team USA down the stretch.
Australia’s first game at the Tokyo Olympics is scheduled for July 25 against Nigeria. Italy and Germany are the other teams in the Boomers’ group.
Ben Simmons is not playing for Australia as he instead opted to “focus on individual skill development,” Basketball Australia said in a press release late last month.
The 24-year-old Thybulle, who spent part of his childhood in Sydney, Australia, is representing the country for the first time. He’s started out splendidly.