KSL OLYMPICS

Lillard, Johnson Lead US To 83-76 Exhibition Win Over Spain

Jul 19, 2021, 10:58 AM | Updated: 10:58 am
Damian Lillard - USA Basketball vs. Spain Exhibition...
Damian Lillard #6 of the United States uses a screen by teammate Draymond Green #14 to get away from Ricky Rubio #9 of Spain during an exhibition game at Michelob ULTRA Arena ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games on July 18, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The United States defeated Spain 83-76. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS (AP) โ€” Two days after being added to the Olympic team, Keldon Johnson keyed a huge third-quarter run to help the U.S. beat Spain.

Damian Lillard scored 19 points and Johnson added 15 in an 83-76 victory Sunday night in the final pre-Olympic game for both teams before they head to Tokyo.

Johnson had been one of the young players training against the Americans, and had appeared in two exhibition games. The San Antonio forward/guard was added to the Olympic squad Friday after Bradley Beal tested positive for the coronavirus and Kevin Love withdrew because of a calf injury. The U.S. also added JaVale McGee, who didn’t play.

“Keldon Johnson played a really solid basketball game. made cuts to the bucket,” U.S. coach Gregg Popovich said. “When he did go to the bucket he was very physical. Very solid in half-court defense. He had a very, very good night.”

This was the U.S. team’s fourth exhibition in eight days in Las Vegas. The Americans were supposed to have a fifth against Australia on Friday, but that was canceled out of caution because of the coronavirus issues the Americans were dealing with.

The two top-ranked team in the world struggled early on with Spain missing its first six shots before finally getting a basket 4:35 into the game.

Despite the slow start the Spaniards led 18-14 after one. They extended the lead to 38-36 at the half. Lillard and Durant each had 11 points at the half. The two combined to go 7 for 16 from the field while the rest of the U.S. squad was 5 of 19. Ricky Rubio had 14 points at the half for Spain.

“The defense was pretty solid. we couldn’t make a shot, but they didn’t let up defensively,” Popovich said. “Kept their focus in that regard which will be important.”

Trailing 46-42 in the third quarter, the U.S. finally got going. The Americans scored the first 11 points during a 23-6 run that spanned the final two quarters. Johnson had eight points during the game-changing spurt. His dunk midway through the burst brought the crowd to life.

“I’m out here to be that energy guy, bring life to the team whenever you need it,” Johnson said. “The third quarter we needed a spark. not saying because I got a couple of buckets. On the defense end, trying to bring some kind of energy or spark so we can get over the hump.”

Spain only had one field goal in the final 5:44 of the quarter and was down 57-50 heading into the fourth quarter.

The U.S. kept the burst going to start the fourth and led 65-52 on Jayson Tatum’s reverse layup with 7:30 left. Spain could get no closer than eight the rest of the way.

Rubio finished with 23 points,

While the U.S. had struggled at times in Las Vegas, Rubio, who has played internationally for years, thinks they’ll figure it out.

“It’s the first time they are playing together, it takes time,” he said. “They are dangerous if they play as a team.”

Back With The Team

Jerami Grant returned to the U.S. squad after being in health and safety protocols since earlier this week “out of an abundance of caution”

Up Next

Spain: The Spaniards open pool play against Japan on July 26.

U.S.: The Americans open up Olympic pool play against France next Sunday.
___
More AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2020-tokyo-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

KSL Olympics

A 2002 Winter Olympic sign sits outside Rice Eccles Stadium before the start of an college football...
EDDIE PELLS AP National Writer

Winter Olympics Focus On Climate Change, Rotating Hosts

To hear the world's Olympic leaders tell it, the bidding for future Winter Games has been jumbled by internal disputes.
2 months ago
Salt-Lake-City-2002-Winter-Olympics-Logo...
Eddie Pells, AP

Salt Lake City Winter Olympics Bid More Likely For 2034

Recent meetings with the IOC have led U.S. officials to believe all signs point toward Salt Lake City bidding for the 2034 Winter Olympics.
8 months ago
Nordic-Combined-2022-Winter-Olympics...
Larry Lage, AP

Winter Olympics May Not Include Nordic Combined For 1st Time

Theย IOCย is due to make a decision later this month about whether to allow women to compete in Nordic combined at the 2026 Games.
8 months ago
Salt-Lake-City-2002-Winter-Olympics-Logo...
Stephen Wade, AP

Chinese Olympian Eileen Gu Working For Salt Lake Games Bid

Eileen Gu, who won two gold medals for China at the Beijing Olympics, has signed on to work for Salt Lake City's bid for the Winter Olympics.
8 months ago
Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold - Norway...
Associated Press

Russian Olympic Body Challenges Ban From Winter Sports Event

The Russian Olympic Committee has made an urgent appeal to overturn a ban on its athletes competing at a European winter sports festival in Finland.
11 months ago
...
Alex Cabrero, KSL TV

2008, 2022 Olympic Games In Beijing See Many Differences

KSL's Alex Cabrero was one of the few NBC affiliate reporters who traveled to China for the 2022 Winter Olympics. He was also there for KSL, reporting on the 2008 Summer Olympics, and says the lasting legacy of 2022 will be very different.
12 months ago

Sponsored Articles

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...
KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.
Jordan-Clarkson-Utah-Jazz...
KSL Digital Sales

Notable Moments From The Utah Jazz Season… So Far

At the beginning of the season, the Utah Jazz were second to last. Now they rank in the top 10 teams in the Western Conference.
Football soccer ball on grass field on stadium...
KSL Digital Sales

Everything You Need to Know to Watch the 2022 World Cup

Find out where and when to watch the upcoming games and final match for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, including where to find live updates.
ksl sports logos...
KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.
jimmy-buffett-tour-art...
KSL Sports

Win Tickets Wednesday: Jimmy Buffett

Get your Hawaiian shirts ready.
Iron Maiden tour...
KSL Sports

Win Tickets Wednesday: Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden returns to Utah in 2022 with The Legacy of the Beast tour.
Lillard, Johnson Lead US To 83-76 Exhibition Win Over Spain