Landing in Strasbourg, France on a 3-game wining streak, the Australian Boomers have crushed Finland 80-57 as they fine-tuned their preparations ahead of the 2014 FIBA World Cup.
Unlike the previous exhibition against Finland in Helsinki where they fell short after forcing overtime, the Boomers were able to open up an early first quarter lead and were never headed. Leading by just 2 points at quarter time, Australia then lifted a gear and powered away to never again be threatened in what turned out to be a blowout.
Veteran David Andersen who spent the past season with Strasbourg in the French ProA League relished the opportunity to play in front of his 'home' fans. The Australian big man felt right at home, impressing with a 10 point and 10 rebound double-double.
Ryan Broekhoff enters the arena in Strasbourg - Courtesy Basketball Australia
Andersen was not required to play a lone hand however, gaining ample support from his team mates in a game where every Boomer hit the court, with 10 of the twelve man roster managing to score. Given an opportunity to start, Ryan Broekhoff once again demonstrated he will play a vital role in Spain, leading the Boomers with 14 points. Broekhoff's perimeter shooting was again the highlight, connecting on 4 of 5 three-pointers, and helping spread the floor in the process. He also managed to collect 2 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals in delivering value at both ends.
Also maintaining his good form was that of center Aron Baynes who contributed 13 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists and combined well with Andersen. The 2014 NBA Champion was able to again impose his presence on the game to help control the paint. Chicago Bull Cameron Bairstow broke out of his scoring slump with 9 final quarter points to finish with 11, while Brock Motum provided 7 points in just 12 minutes. Combined, the Australian big men dominated Finland, out-rebounding their opponents 42-29 and outscoring them 36-22 in the paint.
Aron Baynes has been in great form - Courtesy Basketball Australia
Australia also received solid contributions from Joe Ingles who collected 9 points, 2 rebounds and 4 assists, Brad Newley with 6 points, 5 rebounds and Chris Goulding with 6 points off the bench. Utah Jazz representative Dante Exum played 20 minutes as a playmaker, dishing out 4 assists with 2 steals while only attempting just one shot from the field in finishing scoreless.
It was a case of Australia's defense sparking their offense; the Boomers smothering pressure proved too much for Finland. The Boomers were able to restrict their European opponents to a meagre 57 points on just 32% shooting from the field and forcing them into shooting just 6 of 36 from beyond the arc (19%). A positive for Australia was that they continued to shoot at a good clip, connecting on 52% from the field and going 6/12 from downtown (50%).
Despite showing some promising signs in their last game against France, Nathan Jawai was once again ineffective and limited to just 8 minutes in the blowout win. Adam Gibson also was limited to less than 8 minutes, possibly the first signs of Lemanis tightening his rotations ahead of Spain in a week's time.
The Boomers have played their way into good form and are displaying some encouraging signs ahead of the World Cup. They will be hoping to complete their exhibition schedule on a high as they take on France in a rematch on Monday, 25 August at 3:00am AEST.
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 Recap
Airbnb Australian Boomers lost to Lithuania 78-91 Recap
Airbnb Australian Boomers lost to Finland 81-87. Recap
Airbnb Australian Boomers defeated Ukraine 74-65 Recap
Airbnb Australian Boomers defeated Philippines 97-75 Recap
Airbnb Australian Boomers defeated France 76-74 Recap
Airbnb Australian Boomers defeated Finland 80-53 Saturday 23 August @ Strasbourg, France 4:30am
Airbnb Australian Boomers v France Monday 25 August @ Strasbourg, France 3:00am TV: LIVE on ESPN2