Matisse Thybulle shines for Australia in upset victory, Team USA now 0-2 in exhibitions

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By , Audacy Sports

Anyone who watched the Philadelphia 76ers over the past two seasons knows just how dominant Matisse Thybulle is on the defensive end. Now, thanks to the wonders of international basketball, the 24-year-old phenom is putting his skills on display for the whole world to see.

The main beneficiaries of that are natives of Australia, where Thybulle is a dual citizen as well as in the United States, and he's representing the Australian Boomers for the Tokyo Olympics. Though we're still in the pre-Olympic exhibition stage, it's hard not to notice what he's been able to accomplish to this point. Here are his stat lines in the two games he's played so far:
— July 10 vs. Argentina: 15 points (3-3 3Pt.), 4 steals, 3 blocks
— July 12 vs. USA: 12 points (5-7 FG, 2-3 3Pt.), 3 steals, 2 blocks, 3 assists

As you can see, that second victory on Monday was a massive upset, the second loss in as many pre-Olympic exhibition games for Team USA. After dropping the first game to Nigeria in shocking fashion, Team USA surrendered an 11-point first-half lead and couldn't defeat Thybulle, Joe Ingles, Patty Mills and company despite 22 points from Damian Lillard and 17 from Kevin Durant.

"We walked into this game expecting to win," said Ingles, who contributed 17 points (via ESPN). "No disrespect to them, they're a hell of a team, obviously the guys they've got on their roster and Pop standing up there is always nice to see, but we came in here expecting to win the game and that's what we did."

It certainly seemed like Thybulle had that confidence. It's not like he wasn't used to guarding the other team's best player in the NBA — he does and will continue to do that a lot for the 76ers — but against a team full of stars, he held his own all over the floor. Damian Lillard got a piece...

...as did Kevin Durant...

...and though these are just the warmups, you can't help but feel like Australia has to be viewed as a real dark horse in this competition. Defeating Team USA, even without the full roster and in an exhibition game, is no small task. Evidently, head coach Gregg Popovich was pretty frustrated afterward, and Thybulle's relentless defensive presence and energy can have that effect on a coach and a team as a whole.

And the best part of it all, perhaps? We get the return of his infectious vlogs, the same ones that captured the hearts of America during the Orlando Bubble, and we can't wait to travel along with the extremely talented Thybulle.

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