With the goal of advancing beyond the group stage firmly in the books the Boomers will now take to the court in a knock out quarter-final contest against heavyweight Gold medal favorites Team USA. Join us from 7:15am AEST to see how our Boomers stack up against the World’s best.
Everybody knows the significance of this match up and the Everest like hurdle the Boomers face.
Rather than deliver the token low down on who the key individuals are (you already know) and what each team needs to do to win (in regards to the Boomers, poison half a roster), I’m going to offer something a little more valuable to Australian hoops fans; Hope.
Or at least attempt to.
Yeah, I hear you, “But this is the DREAM TEAM (not quite), they NEVER LOSE (rarely lose)”, so I’ll take you back eight years to the year 2004 and make good on my promise of offering “hope”.
Ahhh, 2004. It feels like it was just yesterday, so much so that I had to Google “2004 in sports” to figure out exactly what the hell actually happened on the sporting landscape.
I was at University at the time and more than likely in one of only two states; drunk or hungover. Thus my lack of familiarity with this historic period can be justifiably excused.
Let’s start off in familiar surroundings with the Athens Olympics. We won 17 gold medals at these games, which brings me to one conclusion: What the hell happened, Australia? In 2004 the now crisis ridden circus that is the Port Adelaide football club won the AFL premiership. I’m serious, that happened.
Shane Warne would become the first spinner in history to take 500 Test wickets. The Pats would win the Superbowl. Phil Mickelson would win his first major. The Kiwi’s would retain the Bledisloe Cup (BOOOOO!). Makybe Diva would win the Melbourne Cup, and Puerto Rico would defeat Team USA 93-73.
I’ll give you a moment to wipe off the beverage that was just spat all over your computer monitor.
No disrespect to our Latin friends, but Puerto ‘freakin Rico? Over Team USA?
And they didn’t just win on some freaky chance buzzer beater, they won in a comfortable twenty point blowout.
What happened? Was this a weakened Team USA squad? Who cares! It’s Puerto Rico! For arguments sake that particular USA squad in 2004 was led by former NBA MVP’s Tim Duncan and Allen Iverson, current headcase alumni Stephon Marbury and Lamar Odom, and a bunch of no-name youngsters coming off their rookie years in LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade.
The fallback guy for the USA that year was Richard Jefferson. Throwing Jefferson under the bus has some merit when you consider the former Net, Buck, Spur, Warrior (that sums up his career) went 3-for-16 from the field in a solo sabotage effort for the ages against his American neighbors.
Is there any way we can get Jefferson on this years Team USA squad? Someone (Australian?) make it happen.
As for Puerto Rico, they were led by some guy who is a doppelgänger of our very own Patty Mills in Carlos Arroyo.
Like Mills, Arroyo was generally a third string shoot first point guard in the NBA and would end up playing on no less than six different NBA teams. Both shoot the ball a lot when they shouldn’t (career 43% shooters) and the majority of their countries’ success in their sport depends on their production.
In the upset victory Puerto Rico would shoot the ball at a similar clip (56-50-66) to the Boomers when they defeated Great Britain four nights ago (59-54-93). Are the Boomers capable of catching fire and applying scoreboard pressure like Puerto Rico did eight years ago? Yes.
Is it highly unlikely to borderline impossible? Also yes. The important thing is that it’s a possibility, and that’s all you need in sports.
Although Team USA’s flaws may be few and far between and largely unrelated to basketball (LeBron’s hairline, Carmelo’s chubbyness, Anthony Davis’s unibrown and Kobe’s divorce (Hi Stephanie), they’re still human (unconfirmed) and susceptible to pressure (now that’s reaching).
Basketball is America’s sport. The NBA. They own this domain. The talent may far outweigh any pressure that may be present, but expectation for Gold at these and every other Olympics is no greater than when it comes to Team USA.
Why can’t the Boomers employ a similar strategy to Lithuania and shorten the game with consistent fouling, and force Team USA to beat them at the line, where they’ve struggled all tournament (just 65%)?
Why can’t Mills catch fire, Ingles have another box score filling all around game and Team USA finally go cold?
Why can’t we Bradbury our way to an upset win?
It’s ‘Mission Impossible’. Yet could it unfold in a Hollywood scripted manner that only sports could organically deliver?
I’m not saying a Boomers win will happen, and if it did it would trump every other miracle recorded in sport. Maybe.
We’re Australian’s, there’s nothing we like more than the underdog tag. We thrive on it, it is our element, just like it was for Puerto Rico eight years ago. With it comes no pressure, no expectation, just hope.