Beal says LaVine’s huge dunk gave Team USA a ‘boost’ originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
Team USA’s first win of their Olympic exhibition schedule also featured their best highlight so far, a thunderous, and-one poster dunk by Bulls All-Star Zach LaVine.
LaVine caught a pass at the 3-point line and drove immediately to the rim. He reached back with his right hand and threw one down right in the face of Argentina’s Juan Pablo Vaulet.
Vaulet got enough of LaVine to get a foul called, but not enough to stop a force of nature.
After the game, Wizards star Bradley Beal was asked about the dunk, which came early in the fourth quarter as Argentina was trying to make a late push down 21 points. Beal said it helped the United States keep the momentum going in their direction.
“We’ve seen him do some crazy stuff. Obviously, we know his athletic ability. It doesn’t surprise us. It definitely gave us a lift of energy and a boost, for sure. Zach’s talented, we know what he’s capable of doing. We want him to stay aggressive and continue to play unselfishly,” Beal said.
That last part seemed to be key for a lot of U.S. players in Tuesday’s win. Most of them are stars on their NBA teams, so it has required an adjustment early on between being aggressive and deferring to others for the sake of chemistry and ball movement.
On Tuesday, the offense was flowing much better. Guys were attacking the rim while also spreading the ball around. Beal and Kevin Durant led the team with 17 points, while LaVine wasn’t far behind with 15. Two of those points were more memorable than the others.