Australia’s Boomers have been knocked out of contention for the gold medal, copping a 26-point loss from Serbia on Saturday morning (AEST).
The 2016 Olympic Games basketball tournament is the Australian Boomers best ever chance at winning a medal – now taking on Serbia for the chance to play for gold. Join The Roar for live scores and coverage from 8am (AEST).
It has been an incredible tournament for the Boomers, who have plenty of talent in their squad but hadn’t shown the sum of the parts could be greater than the individual talents.
However, they’ve managed to do things that no Australian men’s basketball team has done before, including win all of their games other than a very tight match against the USA.
Those wins included a quarter-final victory against Lithuania who are the third-ranked team in the world. They knocked them out of the tournament by 26 points, and are playing excellent on both ends of the floor.
Andrew Bogut has been the man to glue it all together, along with Aron Baynes in the paint. Their combination with guards Patty Mills and Matthew Dellavedova has been fantastic, and it could well be said it is the reason the Boomers are going so well.
Combined with consistent combinations off the bench, led by Kevin Lisch and it isn’t hard to see why this team are on the cusp of a medal.
Serbia have also been in good form, and they took it to the Americans as well going down by three points in their pool match.
A loss to France hurt them though and they would eventually qualify in fourth position, however managed to get over the top of arch rivals Croatia in an extremely physical quarter-final by just three points.
It will also be interesting to see how they pull up from that game, and whether they will have enough in the tank to take on the Boomers.
The key for Serbia is Miroslav Raduljica. The centre, who at times has struggled with foul trouble will not only have offensive duties to take care of, but he must also find a way to play big minutes and shut down the threat of Bogut and Baynes or they will run all over Serbia.
Milos Teodosic and Bogdan Bogdanovic also have massive roles to play on offence.
The sides have already met during the tournament, playing a pool game against each other – while Serbia took it right to the Boomers for three quarters, they fell away at the end and went down by 15.
Australia beat them in the group stage and have arguably played some of the best Basketball at the tournament. Serbia will play hard and fight all the way, but they might lose their way down the stretch a fraction and the Boomers will advance to the final.
Boomers by 5.
Be sure to join The Roar for live coverage of this semi-final as the Boomers and Serbia attempt to advance to their first Olympic final from 8am (AEST) and don’t forget to leave a comment.
Follow Scott on Twitter @sk_pryde