Boomers and Opals to face USA basketball roadblock
Australian guard Patrick Mills celebrates at the end of the Men's Basketball Preliminary Round match as part of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Basketball Arena on August 6, 2012 in London, England. Australia won 82-80. AFP PHOTO / MARK RALSTON
Australia faces world super power the United States in both the men’s and women’s basketball competitions over the next 48 hours. Both are sudden death but at slightly different stages of the tournament.
Our men in the Boomers will be playing with nothing to lose, facing a hotter favourite than Usain Bolt was in the 100m.
Fresh from Paddy Mills buzzer beater over a higher ranked Russian outfit, the boomers should be up for the challenge early, but will need to rely on some kind of Olympic miracle to realise a win over the much fancied Team USA.
The Boomers have been far from poor in this Olympics, considering their key man Andrew Bogut is back home still suffering the effects of a painful elbow injury and the national league is less popular than Julia Gillard’s carbon tax.
One would expect a quarter final loss to be admiral at this level to Team USA, a team that boast the likes of Durant, James, Kobe and Anthony but not this team, over the years the Boomers have learnt to become fighters and scrappers, and don’t expect them to leave anything out on the court against any opponent, no matter what their reputation.
To put the match in perspective, we are playing against the second best team ever assembled on an Olympic basketball court (Yes, 1992 Dream team were better). Our players have come from leagues in various parts of the world (Spain, Australia, USA, Greece, Russia & Serbia) and will be relying on that famous Aussie spirit and grit to even come close to the far superior US team.
The Opals (Women) have a far more realistic shot when they play their semi final against the heavily favoured US team. A shock loss against France bought this game forward by a couple of days but after a dominant fourth quarter performance over China, the Opals should be ready for the challenge.
Much of our hopes will be pinned on the performances of flag bearer Lauren Jackson and young star Liz Cambage. Both have been in foul trouble at various stages of the tournament, and the US will be looking to exploit this. The Opals know they can match the US in different aspects on the court, but their depth is far superior to ours.
We will need to keep out best line up on the court for the majority of the game to match it with the US. We have beaten them in the past, but not on the Olympic stage.
The pre tournament loss of playmaker Penny Taylor through injury is a significant loss, and one I don’t think we can cover.
The Opals don’t seem to have the same spark as previous years, but I think they can come away from London with a bronze medal.
Both games will be watched with anticipation both here and the United States, but I’m afraid both may have the same result.
The Opals should run with the US for much of the 40 minute contest, while I’m afraid as soon as the US put their game faces on, the Boomers will only see dust in their rear view mirror.
Whilst I’m predicting disappointing results for both Australian teams, it is an opportunity to see our teams matched up with the best in the world, isn’t that what the Olympics are about.
- 2012 London Olympics