It was the best pre-Olympics result the Boomers could have asked for.
In search of a maiden Olympic medal in Tokyo, and without Ben Simmons, the Aussies took down the mighty Team USA in Las Vegas, winning 91-83.
A stunning result provided some big insights into just how coach Brian Goorjian’s team, still chock-full of NBA talent, could go in Japan.
Here’s five things we learnt from the win:
1- BOOMERS DEPTH SHINES:
The Boomers need a fit Aron Baynes to win a maiden Olympic medal, but fellow big man Duop Reath has emerged as a real threat off the bench for Australia.
Baynes limped off the court in the first quarter with a right knee injury after banging knees with USA guard Bradley Beal.
The veteran went straight to the locker room before returning the bench with ice on his knee, but coach Brian Goorjian declared the big man was “fine” post-game.
In a further boost, Reath proved he would be a force for the Boomers with a strong performance against the USA, while the hardworking Nick Kay also impressed off the bench.
The Boomers did a remarkable job to beat the USA with Baynes on the sideline.
The Boomers’ Aron Baynes and Jock Landale try to stop Bradley Beal of Team USA. Picture: Ethan Miller/Getty Images/AFPSource:AFP
2- AGGRESSIVE JOE INGLES IS THE BEST JOE INGLES:
The Utah Jazz star set the tone for the Boomers with three triples to open the game, while he was up in Kevin Durant’s face in defence.
The Boomers need Ingles to consistently produce his highest energy to go deep in the Olympics and win a medal.
3- HALF-COURT OFFENCE CAN IMPROVE:
Australia still need to improve its half-court offence to beat Nigeria, who have started their Olympic preparations in style with big wins over Team USA and Argentina.
The Nigerians are the talk of the basketball world, with their athleticism and potent shooting getting results.
The Boomers struggled to contain USA’s fast pace and passing at stages, and Nigeria will pose a similar threat for the Australians in Wednesday’s third exhibition game.
We will receive another realistic insight into Australia’s medal chances when they take on Nigeria – their opening Olympic group stage opponent.
Incredible effort from the Boomers.
Cool, calm & collected when the USA were on the attack.
Mills: 22pts, 2rb, 4ass
Ingles: 17pts, 4rb, 3ass, 3x3PT
Thybulle: 12pts, 2blk, 3ass, 2x3PT
Reath: 9pts, 3rb
Huge defence: RBS
Kay 9, Landale 7.
4- EXUM ELEVATED?:
Could Dante Exum force his way into the Boomers’ starting line-up? If Exum can continue to perform, he could become a more athletic option to start, with Matthew Dellavedova going back to the bench.
One thing for certain is that Matisse Thybulle will be the difference off the bench for the Boomers in Tokyo with his impact at both ends of the floor.
5-MILLS BRILLIANT BUT NEEDS HELP:
Patty Mills is basketball beauty, especially when he runs the floor with a high tempo few players on the world stage can match, but he needs extra help.
The likes of Dellavedova, Ingles, Exum and Chris Goulding must produce more to help tick over the scoreboard and to avoid player fatigue like we witnessed at the 2019 World Cup in China.
In fairness, Goulding showcased his shooting class in the third quarter for Australia, and the Boomers need the Melbourne United skipper and others to consistently maintain the rage to assist Mills in the scoring stakes.
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