After losing two straight games to Lithuania and Finland on their European tour, Australia has bounced back with consecutive wins in Nice, France, the latest a 97-75 victory over World Cup bound Philippines.
With Joe Ingles and David Andersen rested, Lemanis provided the remaining team members plenty of opportunities to step up and prove their worth. While the first half provided a relatively even contest, the Boomers would break away in the second half to run out convincing winners with five players scoring in double figures.
The Boomers would be buoyed by some promising contributions across the team, none more so than from Matthew Dellavedova who finally found some scoring touch. Dellavedova was efficient in compiling 13 points on 5/6 shooting as his time on court was managed to only be 16 minutes, allowing Dante Exum more time to adjust to the senior level of international play.
Exum relished the opportunity by delivering an all-round performance in a more confident display. He would finish with 8 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists and with flashes of brilliance that the Boomers will be hoping he can bring to the table in Spain.
Ryan Broekhoff's sharp-shooting continued against the Philippines - Courtesy Basketball Australia
With Dellavedova and Exum playing well, on the wings Brad Newley and Ryan Broekhoff continued to show they will be a dangerous proposition in Spain under the guidance of Lemanis and the up-tempo style of play that appears to be emerging. Newley had 13 points, 4 rebounds and 4 steals, yet it was Broekhoff's continued hot-shooting from range that the Boomers will desperately cover at the World Cup.
Broekhoff continued his emergence, connecting on 4/7 from long-range on his way to 14 points for the game. His ability to regularly string together shots from beyond the arc will be invaluable and complement the game of Australia's big men but the slashing of their guards as well.
Like Broekhoff, Motum and Bairstow continued to display their value to the team but in contrasting ways. Motum has demonstrated an ability to find ways to score, especially when the Boomers need it most, while Bairstow has been patrolling the paint defensively. Motum would finish with a double-double of 10 points and 12 rebounds, while Bairstow contributed 4 points and 6 rebounds. But all the talk about the Boomers big men has been centering around the disappointing performances of Nathan Jawai.
Nathan Jawai showed improved form against the Philippines - Courtesy Basketball Australia
After some lackluster performances earlier on the tour, Jawai finally began to show glimpses of why he could prove to be a valuable piece of the puzzle at the World Cup. Although he clearly still looks out of shape, he continues to be given every opportunity to find some form. Against a clearly undersized opponent, Jawai managed an encouraging 10 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists outing that is likely to warrant persistence by Coach Lemanis.
"We were nervous going into this game. They were a Korea, Angola-style game where they just run around and jack up threes, very hard to scout and very hard to prepare for, so it was a game where we needed to be disciplined defensively and only taking good looks was important, which I thought the guys did a really good job of doing."
“We’re really happy with the way the guys are coming together. Roles are clarifying. Players like Ryan Broekhoff are starting to find their niche and find their shots. There’s a couple of guys that still need to do that, but we’re happy with the process.”
Unlike the Philippines, hosts France are the Boomers' next opponent and will be a better gauge as to the prospects of the Boomers at the World Cup.
Australian Boomers Pre-World Cup Schedule
Airbnb Australian Boomers defeated Finland 100-95 Friday, 8 August @ Klaipeda, Lithuania 11:15pm AEST Recap + Replay
Airbnb Australian Boomers defeated Ukraine 75-60 Saturday, 9 August @ Klaipeda, Lithuania 11:15pm AEST Recap
Airbnb Australian Boomers lost to Lithuania 78-91 Tuesday, 12 August @ Klaipeda, Lithuania 2:00am AEST Recap
Airbnb Australian Boomers lost to Finland 81-87. Recap
Airbnb Australian Boomers defeated Ukraine 74-65 Saturday 16 August @ Nice, France 2:00am Recap
Airbnb Australian Boomers defeated Philippines 97-75 Sunday 17 August @ Nice, France 2:00am
Airbnb Australian Boomers v France Monday 18 August @ Nice, France 4:30am TV: LIVE on ESPN2
Airbnb Australian Boomers v Finland Saturday 23 August @ Strasbourg, France 4:30am
Airbnb Australian Boomers v France Monday 25 August @ Strasbourg, France 3:00am TV: LIVE on ESPN2
Australia opens the 2014 FIBA World Cup against Slovenia in Gran Canaria, Spain on August 31 at 1:30am AEST live on ABC2 or online on FIBA's livebasketball.tv.