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Australia’s men’s basketball team, the Boomers, start their pursuit of a first-ever Olympic Games medal when they play Nigeria in their opening pool match at the Tokyo Games on Sunday, starting at 6.20pm AEST.
The teams met earlier this month in Las Vegas after both teams had inflicted defeats on the United States team but Australia’s starting lineup was its second string in a 108-69 win.
Jock Landale was the only starter who played, alongside Nathan Sobey, Dante Exum, Matisse Thybulle and Nick Kay as coach Brian Goorjian kept NBA stars Patty Mills, Joe Ingles, Matthew Dellavedova and Aron Baynes away from action ahead of this Games meeting between the teams.
In Las Vegas, Nigeria, coached by Golden State Warriors assistant Mike Brown, hit 20 three-pointers to beat the US 90-87 and become the first African team to beat the Americans.
The Nigerians have several players with NBA experience, including Gabe Vincent and Josh Okogie.
Vincent, who appeared in 50 games for the Miami Heat this season, scored a game-high 21 points and hit six three-pointers to lead Nigeria’s scoring.
Australia are looking to make up for the Rio Olympics where they threatened to win a first medal but fell short.
They will be led by Patty Mills, who carried the flag in the opening ceremony.
Mills was asked if the Boomers may take a knee or produce another symbolic gesture before the tip-off
“Those conversations haven’t been had, mate,” Mills said. “It’s one of those things, as a team sport there are always things you try to find to come together and bond. If that helps you compete, that’s what should be done,” he said.
Tip off: 6:20pm (AEST)
Venue: Saitama Super Arena, Tokyo
TV: Channel Seven