Australia hands U.S. men’s basketball team second straight loss in pre-Olympic exhibitions

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The U.S. men’s basketball team is off to a rocky start with less than two weeks to go before it starts an important Olympic run.

The No. 1-ranked country in the world lost its first two of five pre-Olympic exhibition games: to Nigeria (No. 22 in the world) on Saturday, now to No. 3 Australia.

Australia notched its second win over the U.S., 91-83, on Monday night, after also winning a pre-World Cup exhibition in August 2019; that time the score was 98-94.

Australia has never outscored the U.S. in major competition (0-15 in Olympic and world championship play), but now owns a 2-5 record in exhibitions.

With the U.S. leading through much of the first half in Las Vegas, Australia went on a 19-6 run in the last five minutes of the third quarter, bringing the score to 69-64 in the Boomers’ favor.

The U.S. tied it up with a Draymond Green free throw with less than five minutes left in the final quarter, with Jayson Tatum giving the U.S. a brief lead.

Australian Patty Mills, a point guard for the Spurs, landed both of his free throws to bring it back to a tie, 82-82. Mills then scored five more points by the end of the period as Australia continued to extend its lead.

Mills and American Damian Lillard each scored 22 points to lead the game. Australia’s Nick Kay led in rebounds (9) with Green notching a game-high five assists.

Australia has never won an Olympic medal in its 14 appearances, which includes losing the bronze to Spain by a single point five years ago in Rio.

The squad hoping to change that this summer includes six NBA players. Australia’s 2008 Olympic team only had one.

“No words will be able to explain,” Mills, a soon-to-be four-time Olympian, said of potentially earning an Olympic medal. “Head down in the sand, we’re all in the trenches together. We know what it would mean to us, what it would mean to our entire country.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. is after a fourth consecutive Olympic gold medal and redemption following a seventh-place finish at the 2019 World Cup, its worst-ever international tournament result.

The Americans only had four days to train together leading up to the Nigeria game, their first loss against an African nation.

“I was pleased, I thought we got better tonight,” head coach Gregg Popovich said, noting the defense was much improved in the first half. “After a short time together, there’s a lot of things that have to be covered.”

Three of the Olympic team players — Devin BookerJrue HolidayKhris Middleton — are still playing in the NBA Finals and have yet to join the national team.

The U.S. has a tight turnaround before its next matchup, against Argentina, which will be broadcast on NBCSN at 6 p.m. ET on Tuesday.

Nigeria took another big win on Monday, 94-71 over No. 4 Argentina.

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Francesco Friedrich, most decorated bobsledder in history, rebounds for 12th world title

Francesco Friedrich
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A week after his first major championships defeat in seven years, German Francesco Friedrich returned to his winning ways to close the world bobsled championships on Sunday.

Friedrich’s four-man sled won the world title by 69 hundredths of a second over British and Latvian sleds that tied for silver, combining times from four runs over the last two days in St. Moritz, Switzerland.

Geoff Gadbois drove the lone U.S. sled in the field, finishing 18th.

Friedrich, the most decorated bobsledder in history, extended his records with a fifth consecutive world four-man title and 12th world championship between two- and four-man events.

Germany swept all four titles at bobsled worlds with four different drivers taking gold.

Friedrich had won 12 consecutive Olympic or world titles before taking two-man silver at worlds last week in St. Moritz, Switzerland. He was dethroned in that event by countryman Johannes Lochner.

Friedrich has been hampered recently by a muscle injury from sprint training in late December. Going into worlds, Lochner had won four consecutive World Cup two-man races, while Hall won the last two World Cups in four-man.

Friedrich, 32, said before this season that he plans to make the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games his final competition. Friedrich and push athlete Thorsten Margis can break the record of four career Olympic bobsled gold medals that they currently share with retired Germans Andre Lange and Kevin Kuske.

The World Cup season concludes with stops in Igls, Austria, and Sigulda, Latvia, the next two weekends.

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2023 World Alpine Skiing Championships TV, live stream schedule

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Every race of the world Alpine skiing championships airs live on Peacock from Feb. 6-19.

France hosts the biennial worlds in Meribel and Courchevel — six women’s races, six men’s races and one mixed-gender team event.

Mikaela Shiffrin is the headliner, in the midst of her most successful season in four years with a tour-leading 11 World Cup wins in 23 starts. Shiffrin is up to 85 career World Cup victories, one shy of Ingemar Stenmark‘s record accumulated over the 1970s and ’80s.

World championships races do not count in the World Cup tally.

Shiffrin is expected to race at least four times at worlds, starting with Monday’s combined. She earned a medal in 11 of her 13 career world championships races, including each of the last 10 dating to 2015.

Shiffrin won at least one race at each of the last five world championships (nobody has gold from six different worlds). Her six total golds and 11 total medals are American records. At this edition, she can become the most decorated skier in modern world championships history from any nation.

She enters one medal shy of the record for most individual world championships medals since World War II (Norway’s Kjetil Andre Aamodt) and four medals shy of the all-time record. (Worlds were held annually in the 1930s, albeit with fewer races.)

She is also one gold medal shy of the post-World War II individual record shared by Austrian Toni Sailer, Frenchwoman Marielle Goitschel and Swede Anja Pärson.

The other favorites at these worlds include Italian Sofia Goggia, the world’s top female downhiller this season, and the two leading men: Swiss Marco Odermatt (No. 1 in super-G and giant slalom) and Norwegian Aleksander Aamodt Kilde (No. 1 in downhill).

2023 World Alpine Skiing Championships Broadcast Schedule

Date Event Time (ET) Platform
Mon., Feb. 6 Women’s Combined Super-G Run 5 a.m. Peacock
Women’s Combined Slalom Run 8:30 a.m. Peacock
Tues., Feb. 7 Men’s Combined Super-G Run 5 a.m. Peacock
Men’s Combined Slalom Run 8:30 a.m. Peacock
Wed., Feb. 8 Women’s Super-G 5:30 a.m. Peacock
Thu., Feb. 9 Men’s Super-G 5:30 a.m. Peacock
Sat., Feb. 11 Women’s Downhill 5 a.m. Peacock
Highlights 2:30 p.m.* NBC, Peacock
Sun., Feb. 12 Men’s Downhill 5 a.m Peacock
Highlights 3 p.m.* NBC, Peacock
Tue., Feb. 14 Team Parallel 6:15 a.m. Peacock
Men’s/Women’s Parallel Qualifying 11 a.m. Peacock
Wed., Feb. 15 Men’s/Women’s Parallel 6 a.m. Peacock
Thu., Feb. 16 Women’s Giant Slalom Run 1 4 a.m. Peacock
Women’s Giant Slalom Run 2 7:30 a.m. Peacock
Fri., Feb. 17 Men’s Giant Slalom Run 1 4 a.m. Peacock
Men’s Giant Slalom Run 2 7:30 a.m. Peacock
Sat., Feb. 18 Women’s Slalom Run 1 4 a.m. Peacock
Women’s Slalom Run 2 7:30 a.m. Peacock
Highlights 2:30 p.m.* NBC, Peacock
Sun., Feb. 19 Men’s Slalom Run 1 4 a.m. Peacock
Men’s Slalom Run 2 7:30 a.m. Peacock
Highlights 3 p.m.* NBC, Peacock

*Delayed broadcast
*All NBC coverage streams on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app for TV subscribers.

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