Game 3 of the Boomers Olympics campaign will serve up a do or die scenario against China. Both teams are yet to register a victory and a loss will virtually ensure a premature end to the tournament.
Can the Boomers hold off the prospect of elimination and get their Medal hopes back on track? Join us from 8:15pm AEST to follow all the action of this cutthroat affair.
The Boomers are coming off a pair of losses to the highly rated Brazil and Spanish outfits. In game one the Aussies took a while to adjust before making a late run and falling short against Brazil 75-71.
The contest against Spain proved to be little more sided with the Spaniards taking the ascendancy in a third quarter which would see them outscore the Boomers 26-10 and all but wrap up an 82-70 victory with a quarter to play.
Outside shooting once again proved to the a thorn in the Boomers side. A 4-for-24 outing against Spain took the Aussies three-point shooting total to a woeful 8-for-46 for the tournament. Spain would also monster the Boomers on the boards, out-rebounding the smaller Aussie frontline 56-39.
The one positive coming out of the Spanish loss was the Australians ability to protect the ball. The Boomers would commit just the five turnovers against Spain compared to nineteen against Brazil. If the Boomers are to keep their tournament hopes alive they must once again limit their turnovers to single digits.
It’s no shock that Patty Mills struggles have been mirrored in the results column. As many expected coming in the Boomers success would depend upon Mills productivity and thus far the point guard has been misfiring on the offensive end. Mills has only connected on 13 of 39 shot attempts in the opening two games and has dished out just four assists. It is vital that Mills recaptures his shooting touch against the Chinese and takes that confidence into the remaining fixtures.
The Chinese outfit have also felt the wrath of Spain’s frontline, going down 97-81 in their opening contested before falling to an impressive Russian side 74-54 on Tuesday night. The main issue for China has been their lacklustre defense and poor ability to rebound.
China have allowed their opponents to shoot over 50% from the field (including three-pointers) in the tournament thus far and have been out-rebounded 85-54.
The Chinese squad is led by the Dallas Mavericks veteran towel waver Yi Jianlian. Yi’s age may be unknown and his NBA career a train wreck but you can’t ignore his production at the Olympic level. Thus far, Jianlian is averaging 23 points and 9.5 rebounds on 57% shooting.
Outside of Yi the Chinese have little to offer, especially in the way of guards. China’s squad may boast four players over 6’10” but this is generally a product of their selection system. China’s development criteria is based largely on height, hence the buffet of bigs and lack of talented guards.
If the Boomers can produce a similar spread offensively like they did in the first half against Spain, and Mills can recapture his pre-tournament form the Aussies should be able to account for the Chinese side relatively easily.
Unlike Brazil and Spain the Boomers should be able to break even against China’s bigs and use their superior athleticism and guard play to break down the Chinese side on the offensive end. Expect Mills and Dellavedova to get to the rim at will and for the Boomers to keep their Olympic hopes alive.
My Tip: Boomers 77, China 65.