London 2012: Team USA vs Boomers preview
No veni, vidi, vici on the cards as Team USA set to extend record by smashing the Boomers tonight. Or will they?
It would be hard to argue against labelling the Boomers’ impending game against the omnipotent Team USA as their toughest test in Olympics basketball history. In 13 attempts at defeating the world’s best basketballers, Australia is yet to record a victory.
That isn’t about to change: “Veni, vidi, vici” won’t be heard tomorrow morning (tipoff at 7.15am).
What we can expect from the Boomers is a good showing. They will throw everything at Team USA – they always do. The question is how long they can sustain enough pressure to stick with the Americans.
Argentina tried but was blown off the court via a powerful burst from NBA MVP LeBron James and the NBAs leading scorer Kevin Durant.
Speaking with this author last night, former Boomers captain Shane Heal said:
“It will be tough to stay with USA. They must play great D-transition and then pick and choose when they want to run or to slow it down. Tempo is key.”
When asked how the ’92 dream team stacked up against the present Team USA, Heal, who played across the globe including in the NBA with the Minnesota Timberwolves and the San Antonio Spurs added:
“The 1992 dream team was way superior in my mind. This team is good but (they) don’t have that ruthless mindset to crush teams every game.”
The Boomers are fresh from a big win over Russia thanks to a game-winning Patty Mills buzzer-beater from deep. The Spurs third-string guard has been in excellent form of late including 39-points against the host nation and the stroke that provided Russia its first loss of the tournament.
The players the Boomers need to fire (even more) are Joe Ingles and David Andersen.
Ingles, the Regal FC Barcelona forward is averaging 14.2 points-per-game from 12.2 field goal attempts-per-game – against the Russians, he led the way with 20-points.
Down low, Andersen needs to extend Team USA’s defence and open up the key by dragging Tyson Chandler away from the block – that’s where the constant movement without the ball and setting screens come into play.
Mills is the obvious target for the Americans who will have Chris Paul on him. Mills performed big against the Britons, however his overall percentage from the field will need to be higher in this clash.
Mills, Ingles, Andersen and co must start quick and hopefully catch Team USA in one of their sluggish-start moods. Possession of the ball is vital – this is the game where the Boomers will be smashed if they have too many turnovers.
Must take advantage of Team USA’s slow starts
For Team USA, they are yet to put together a 40-minute game – that almost brought them undone against Lithuania, a game the Boomers will most likely review and adopt similar game play. On the offensive end, we are bound to see Australia employ the Princeton offense with scores of pick-and-rolls. Defensively, Australia will need to put the brakes on the Americans – a very tough order. If Team USA turn this game into a fast break feast, its game over – simple as that.
Team USA will win this by 25+ and move on to play either Brazil or the team they just defeated, Argentina.
Boomers: G Patty Mills, G Matthew Dellavedova, F Joe Ingles, F David Andersen and C Aleks Maric.
Team USA: G Chris Paul, G Kobe Bryant, F Kevin Durant, F LeBron James and C Tyson Chandler.