United States holds off Australia, moves to 3-0 in group play

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After convincing wins over China and Venezuela, things were bound to get much more difficult for the United States men’s basketball team. With an Australian team chock full of NBA veterans on the schedule for Wednesday night, the Americans were going to have to do more than simply show up to the basketball arena in order to win.

But with that being said, few people expected the game to be as difficult as it was. Mike Krzyzewski’s team ultimately won by the final score of 98-88, erasing their first halftime deficit in Olympic play since their disastrous bronze medal run in 2004. And for that the United States can thank team captain Carmelo Anthony, who in becoming the all-time leading scorer in USA Basketball history bailed his teammates out from what was a mediocre offensive performance.

WATCH: Carmelo Anthony becomes USA Basketball’s all-time leading scorer

Anthony finished the game with a team-high 31 points, shooting 11-for-21 from the field with nine of his made shots being three-pointers. Melo scored 14 of those points in the first quarter, surpassing David Robinson and LeBron James to grab the top spot on the all-time scoring list. Another run from Anthony, this one in the fourth quarter, provided the boost the Americans needed to avoid what would have been a major upset (Vegas lines closed with the U.S. favored by 27 points).Also key in the fourth quarter were a couple key shots from Kyrie Irving, one of which being a three from the right wing eerily similar to the one he hit in Game 7 of the NBA Finals for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

MORE: Carmelo Anthony wasn’t going to let America lose

Irving finished with 19 points and Kevin Durant added 14, but he provided those points on 4-for-16 shooting from the field. Remove Anthony’s numbers, and the United States shot 23-for-66 (34.8 percent) from the field. The ball and player movement of the Australians was superior to that of the Americans for most of the first three quarters, giving the Boomers a chance to win the game and move into sole possession of first place in Group A.

Patty Mills led four Australian players in double figures with 30 points, and as a team they shot 50 percent from the field. Mills and Matthew Dellavedova caused the Americans trouble in ball screen situations, and the poor hedges/switches resulted in clean looks for the upstarts. As they’re in the same group the United States and Australia can’t meet in the quarterfinal round, but Wednesday’s contest had the feeling of one that we could very well see again in Rio.

Mo Farah likely to retire this year

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British track legend Mo Farah will likely retire by the end of this year.

“I’m not going to go to the Olympics, and I think 2023 will probably be my last year,” the 39-year-old Farah said, according to multiple British media reports.

Farah, who swept the 5000m and 10,000m golds at the Olympics in 2012 and 2016, was announced Tuesday as part of the field for the London Marathon on April 23.

Last May, Farah reportedly said he believed his career on the track was over, but not the roads.

London might not be his last marathon. Farah also said that if, toward the end of this year, he was capable of being picked to run for Britain again, he would “never turn that down,” according to Tuesday’s reports.

It’s not clear if Farah was referencing the world track and field championships, which include a marathon and are in Budapest in August. Or selection for the 2024 British Olympic marathon team.

The fastest British male marathoner last year ran 2:10:46, ranking outside the top 300 in the world. Farah broke 2:10 in all five marathons that he’s finished, but he hasn’t run one since October 2019 (aside from pacing the 2020 London Marathon).

Farah withdrew four days before the last London Marathon on Oct. 2, citing a right hip injury.

Farah switched from the track to the marathon after the 2017 World Championships and won the 2018 Chicago Marathon in a then-European record time of 2:05:11. Belgium’s Bashir Abdi now holds the record at 2:03:36.

Farah’s best London Marathon finish in four starts was third place in 2018.

Farah returned to the track in a failed bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, then shifted back to the roads.

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Kendall Gretsch wins six gold medals at Para Nordic Ski Worlds

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Kendall Gretsch, who won Paralympic titles at the last Summer and Winter Games, added another six gold medals at the World Para Nordic Skiing Championships in Sweden last week.

Gretsch, 30, earned seven total medals in seven days between biathlon and cross-country skiing.

Gretsch won gold medals in three different sports across the last three Paralympics: biathlon and cross-country skiing in 2018 (two years after taking up the sports), triathlon in 2021 and biathlon in 2022.

She plans to shift her focus back to triathlon after this winter for 2024 Paris Games qualification.

Gretsch, born with spina bifida, was the 2014 USA Triathlon Female Para Triathlete of the Year. Though triathlon was added to the Paralympics for the 2016 Rio Games, her classification was not added until Tokyo.

Also at last week’s worlds, six-time Paralympian Aaron Pike earned his first Paralympic or world championships gold medal in his decade-plus career, winning a 12.5km biathlon event.

Oksana Masters, who won seven medals in seven events at last year’s Paralympics to break the career U.S. Winter Paralympics medals record, missed worlds due to hand surgery.

The U.S. also picked up five medals at last week’s World Para Alpine Skiing Championships in Spain — three silvers for five-time Paralympian Laurie Stephens and two bronzes for 17-year-old Saylor O’Brien.

Stephens now has 18 career medals from world championships, plus seven at the Paralympics.

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