Boomers basketball frustrates Team USA once more
If one thing is for certain, it’s that the Boomers know better than any other team how to frustrate Team USA.
The game overflowed with big hits and death stares, with the Australians being able to get under the skin of almost every member of the United States basketball team. No statement better exhibits this ability than the post game comments made by Indiana Pacers superstar Paul George.
“The game kind of got out of hand early with the physical play.” George remarked after the 98-88 thriller in Rio. “We knew that coming in - this team has a knack for being a little dirty.”
It’s the perfect vocal summary of why Australian players give their American counterparts so many issues. The comment reeks of elitism, as George’s frustration likely stems from an almost overwhelming arrogance which is commonplace in any Team USA campaign.
The US expects teams to shrivel in fear when put against twelve of the best players in the NBA, completely disregarding the fact that basketball is a global game, rather than the exclusive commodity belonging to them.
The comment also highlights the incongruity of the Australian style of play to that of the Americans. The US play with a great amount of glitz and glamour, relying often on isolation play while preying on the inability/fear of their opponents in guarding them.
Meanwhile, the Australian style is founded on testing the opponent’s mental fortitude and capabilities by playing in a manner that makes every positive action a physically draining exercise. The Boomers are constantly in your face and are never shy to remind you of your misfortunes on the court.
Remember the fearlessness that caused Charles Barkley and Reggie Miller to lash out at Shane Heal in Salt Lake City back in 1996?
It took center stage again today, with Paul George receiving a technical foul in second quarter for shoving Dellavedova.
There were other indicators of severe frustration on the part of the Americans. DeMarcus Cousins' overly emotional reactions to the physicality of the game (which resulted in a lack of game time), and a sneaky Kevin Durant elbow to the body of Joe Ingles as Jingles walked to the bench with five fouls. A constant wrestling match taking place under the ring between Bogut and Jordan. It all played perfectly into the game plan of the Boomers.
It remains to be seen whether or not Australia have shown the Yanks everything in their tool kit, as it was reported that Coach Lemanis was ready to hold back as to not give away too much in a pool game.
You could point to Bogut's late entry into the fourth quarter as an indication of this, however the starters did play the clutch minutes down the stretch of the game. What this means for a potential gold medal rematch, and perhaps even the rest of the tournament for Australia, remains to be seen.
However, there is one undeniable truth about the Australian style of basketball. It’s a style that has always, and perhaps will always, infuriate and irritate any incarnation of Team USA.
Australian Boomers vs Team USA: Box score