Andrew Bogut is back! Bogut's return to action coupled with the sublime play of Joe Ingles helped Australia rout China 82-52 in the Boomers final game before the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
The Australian center was immediately inserted into the starting lineup against China, and while he logged just 9:25 minutes in the game and went scoreless (3 rebounds), his presence is a big plus for the Boomers ahead of Rio.
"Your first game back from an injury is always difficult but we're happy with how he moved with and without the ball," said Australian assistant coach Luc Longley.
"We haven't played great yet. We have had a disrupted preparation but we are ready to go now."
Bogut had not played since injuring his knee in game 5 of the NBA Finals. Throughout their South American tour, the Boomers struggled in the paint both offensively and defensively, particularly in their two losses to Brazil and Lithuania. His injection into the side is sure to provide an immediate boost defensively in Rio.
While Bogut's return was a major talking point, Ingles was the star of the show. With Patty Mills sitting on the sidelines in being rested for the game, China has no answer to Ingles. The forward delivered 9 of his 21 points (9/12 FG) in the third period to help spark the Boomers to the win. Ingles would also add 6 rebounds and 3 assist to his haul, and really looks to have found his groove after the joining the team late following the birth of his twins.
Brock Motum was again quiet offensively with just 5 points on 1/6 shooting, however Cameron Bairstow stepped up his output to add 9 points 4/9 FG) with 2 rebounds. Kevin Lisch provided an offensive spark off the bench, adding 11 points, while Chris Goulding continued to demonstrate his importance to the side in providing 9 points (1/4 3PT).
Qui Zhou was China's only player to score in double-digits in adding 10 points. The Chinese were forced into shooting just 30% from the field and a paltry 15% from long-range, while the Boomers connected on 49% and 38% in comparison. Unlike their earlier games against Brazil and Lithuania, Australia dominated the paint against a clearly out-of-their depth Chinese side, winning the rebound count 42-27 and scoring 36-20 inside.
Lemanis ensure his bench rotation played plenty of minutes, with Matthew Dellavedova, Aron Baynes, David Andersen and Brock Motum all playing less than 20 minutes each.
Australia now look ahead to their Olympic campaign which opens against 2000 Olympic silver medalist France on 6 August. The French will be led by a number of NBA stars including Tony Parker (San Antonio Spurs), Boris Diaw (Utah Jazz), Nicolas Batum (Charlotte Hornets), Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz). Former San Antonio Spur Nando de Colo also features for les Bleus as the 2016 Euroleague champion and MVP.
The Boomers opening three games are against the toughest opponents in their group. Following France, they take on Serbia and then Team USA. They will need at least one win, if not two out of three to open the tournament if they are to challenge for a medal.
Boomers South American Schedule
Australia defeated Argentina 84-83 | Recap and Box Score
Australia lost to Brazil 67-96 | Recap and Box Score
Australia defeated China 82-53 | Box Score