After getting their Olympic campaign back on track against China, the Boomers will face off against the hosts Great Britain tonight with a spot in the next round up for grabs.
With Russia upsetting Spain earlier today, the Boomers hopes of avoiding Team USA have all but gone up in flames. Join us from 5am AEST this morning to see if the Boomers can defeat the host nation and regain fourth place in the group and the opportunity to have Team USA sign their shoes.
After a pair of underwhelming efforts against Brazil and Spain the Boomers looked a different outfit against China, at least on the scoreboard anyway. In a do or die game the Aussies picked apart a Chinese side who if not for some of the greatest shooting in the history of western civilization from Wang Shipeng, would have suffered a much heavier defeat than the final 81-61 scoreline.
The Boomers were led by Patty Mills who again laid his fair share of bricks (8-for-19 from the field), but looked a lot more comfortable in doing so (may or may not be a bad thing). David Anderson would set the tone for the Boomers early, contributing 15 first half points before finishing up with 17 points and 7 rebounds. Joe Ingles would fill up the boxscore yet again, registering an impressive all around performance consisting of 13 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists.
The key to the Aussies performance was their stifling defense. The Boomers held the Chinese to 29% shooting on two-point attempts, using numerous double teams and fronting the Chinese bigs and restricting their influence at the rim.
The Boomers also reversed their invisible impact on the boards from the first two games and out-rebounded the taller Chinese side 51-36, with 21 of those rebounds being on the offensive end. Numbers which would have had the likes of Vlahov, Bradtke, Ronaldson and Paul Rogers taking part in a collective fist pump.
The good news for the Boomers is Great Britain are yet to register a win in the tournament thus far, which means there’s a fair chance they might suck. A win against the Boomers would bring them back into the fold though, and leave them needing just the solitary victory over China to advance to the next round.
The host nation struggled in their opening fixture suffering a comprehensive 95-75 loss to an undefeated Russian outfit. In their follow-up games against Brazil and Spain the Brits were a lot more competitive and could have easily forced back-to-back upsets, going down 67-62 to Brazil and 79-78 to Spain.
Leading the host nation is Chicago Bulls star Luol Deng. Deng has averaged 21.3 points, 8 rebounds and 5.7 turnovers per game thus far but hasn’t exactly done so via the most efficient means.
If the Boomers can force Deng into another ordinary shooting night and restrict Mensah-Bonsu and Freeland from catching fire, they’ll walk away with a comfortable victory and a spot in the second round. Given what’s on the line, the Boomers superior defense and the hunger they displayed against China, I see no reason why this won’t be the case.
Tip: Boomers 70, Great Britain 62.