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Opinion

Boomers one step closer to ending medal drought

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Roar Rookie
3rd August, 2021
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The Boomers are through to a mouth-watering semi-final against Team USA after a dominant 38-point win over Argentina.

A relentless final quarter assault from the entire Australian side took them one step closer to securing their first ever Olympic medal.

Star point guard Patty Mills led the way, scoring a game-high 18 points on 75 per cent shooting from three.

Holding on to a 12-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, the Boomers broke away after starting the final stage of the game on a 19-0 run.

Coach Brian Goorjian emptied the bench midway through the quarter but the Australian buckets didn’t halt, outscoring Argentina 37-11.

The 97-59 victory wasn’t all smooth though, with the Aussies starting the game off on a shaky note. It looked as though the pressure of Olympic basketball finals had got to them, with five turnovers in as many minutes to begin the match.

Their reliable three-point shooting, which had carried them through the quarter-finals, was off, with sharpshooter Joe Ingles missing his opening two from deep.

The Boomers did however find their range from beyond the arc, shooting a very respectable 45 per cent and hitting nine more threes than Argentina.

The NBA trio of Patty Mills, Ingles and Matisse Thybulle proved to be the difference, combining for 41 points and nine triples.

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Patty Mills

Patty Mills. (Photo by Herve Bellanger/Icon Sport via Getty Images)

Five-time Australian Olympic basketballer Andrew Gaze was full of praise for Australia’s outstanding performance but was particularly pleased with Thybulle’s game.

“Matisse Thybulle has proven to be just a revelation at both ends of the floor. We didn’t think he could shoot the ball. The man’s shooting at 50 per cent from the three-point line,” Gaze commented post-match on Seven.

“He’s got Mr Gadget ‘go-go arms’ and somehow he’s picking off these passes. It is something to really get excited about.”

The Boomers’ attention now shifts to the semi-finals, which will be their second consecutive at the Olympic level. They face three-time defending gold medalists the United States of America, who Australia defeated less than a month ago in the Las Vegas exhibition matches.

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The key for the Boomers is to shut down star forward Kevin Durant, who recently surpassed fellow NBA player Carmelo Anthony as Team USA’s all-time leading Olympic scorer.

The winner of Thursday’s semi-final will go through to the gold medal match and the loser will play off against either France or Slovenia for bronze honours.

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