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After their big scrimmage in Las Vegas last week, Team USA traveled to Los Angeles to continue their training camp procedures. Practicing in the UCLA Health Training Center (the practice facility of the Los Angeles Lakers), the team will look to continue their workouts before they trim the roster down just a couple of days from now on August 17th.
Team USA Head Coach Gregg Popovich talking to his 2019 training camp roster in Las Vegas. Photo via Andrew D. Bernstein 
Just yesterday, the team participated in another scrimmage against a group of G-League players in a closed to the public game and it did not go well for the senior roster. Led by former NBA head coach and current ESPN basketball analyst Jeff Van Gundy, it was revealed by media insiders that the G-League squad actually beat team USA pretty bad in the shorter game.
Looking at that final score, it doesn't seem promising that Team USA (who is getting ready to represent the country in the FIBA World Cup this fall) lost to a combination of guys from the NBA's development league and overseas. However, it is important not to take this game too seriously and just look at it as both a learning experience as well as a bump in the road.

If you check out the roster of the G-League team, it is hard to recognize a lot of names on the list from an NBA perspective. For that reason, they probably came into this scrimmage with a completely different mindset compared to their NBA level opponents. This was most likely viewed as an opportunity to get out there and prove themselves, and the hungry and talented players did just that.
Going down early to the determined G-league players, Team USA managed to cut the deficit to five points behind a spirited Donovan Mitchell with just about a minute and a half left to go. But after that, Mitchell and the rest of his team broke down, which lead to the final 36-17 score the game finished with.

Die-hard basketball fans might look at this headline and find it somewhat familiar, and that's because it echos a now-infamous scrimmage which was held back in the summer of 1992. Though not under nearly the same circumstances, 27 years ago the famed Team USA Dream Team lost in a closed scrimmage to a group of college players as they prepared for the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona.

Consisting of players such as Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and more the Dream Team is widely considered to be one of, if not the greatest, basketball team ever assembled. However, that did not prevent them from losing to a group of young college kids and future NBA stars such as Chris Webber and Grant Hill.
The 1992 USA "Dream Team" roster with Head Coach Chuck Daly. Photo via Andrew D. Bernstein 
The way Duke University head coach and former, long-time Team USA coaching staff member Mike Krzyzewski tells the story is that 1992 Dream Team coach Chuck Daly threw the game and wanted the historic Olympic team to lose. Former Duke point guard Bobby Hurley (who participated in the game for the college roster) said otherwise, claiming the game was legit from top to bottom and they beat the NBA superstars fair and square.


While all of this is uncertain we do know one thing, which is that the young kids with a chip on their shoulder simply outplayed Team USA in a variety of ways, and the same thing happened in Los Angeles this summer. Although both teams in the 1992 scrimmage were significantly better than both teams in the 2019 practice, the two games served the same purpose and ended with the same result.

While I have to admit all of this is very fascinating to see, I also have to reiterate not taking it too seriously. Knowing what happened in the game the day before, the Dream Team came back the next morning and destroyed the same exact team in a rematch. This relatively young Team USA roster will adjust in both play and attitude as they continue through their summer and I'm more than confident that they will be just fine by the time they head to China this fall.

However, if you do want to see footage from the scrimmage in Los Angeles you can check out the majority of the game in this video down below.



You can follow Thomas Desmond on Twitter @td_654.

Thomas Desmond 8/15/2019 02:16:00 PM Edit
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