The Aussie Boomers have fallen short in their second Olympic group game against Spain, losing 82-70. Australia put up a great fight but were ultimately out-classed by the Spanish, who boast a very NBA-heavy line up. Ranked number 2 in the world, Spain got some great contributions from NBA players Pau Gasol (20 points, 4 rebounds) and Rudy Fernandez (17 points, 6 rebounds) while Pau’s brother Marc also provided problems for Australia.
The Boomers started well, leading 19-14 after the first period behind some high-energy play and scrappy defense. Spain started to find their feet in the second quarter and led 37-32 at the long break.
The third quarter was again the Boomers’ nemesis as Spain’s ball movement and shooting touch brought the Aussies to their knees. Spain took the third quarter 26-10 putting the game out of reach. Fernandez, who had left the game before the half with what appeared to be a cut to the head, electrified the crowd connecting time after time from downtown. Both Gasol’s controlled the paint, while Oklahoma Thunder big man Serge Ibaka laid down some of the tastiest dunks of the tournament.
For Australia, it was a struggle after half time. The ball just would not drop which must have been deflating, as the Boomers worked overtime to get open shots. The team combined to shoot 30/81 from the field and were unable to capitalise on their early defensive efforts.
Joe Ingles and Brad Newley top scored for Australia with 12 points each, while Patty Mills chipped in with 11 of his own. While the Boomers were able to produce open looks at the basket during this game, the shots just would not fall which made it extremely difficult.
Next up for Australia is the Chinese in a must win game. All the remaining group games are must-win now, as the Aussies look to finish third in their group to avoid the USA in the next round. The Boomers will be favoured in this one and the entire hoops community will be watching, hoping they get their first win on the board.