Olympics: Boomers dismantle France, Bogut shines
The Boomers have gotten off to a magical start in their 2016 Rio Olympics campaign. Led by Andrew Bogut, Patty Mills and Matthew Dellavedova, the Boomers have won their opening game against France in a blowout 87-66 win over France.
Bogut, who was in doubt to even suit up in the lead up to the Olympics, was a monster on the offensive end. He finished with 18 points and 5 assists on 9/10 from the field.
The Boomers got off to a flying start, jumping out to an 18-9 lead in the first quarter. It was their energy on both ends of the court that caused France fits. The defence was stingy, and the ball movement on offence was a thing of beauty. Mills lit it up early, forcing France to call an early timeout. Baynes' energy was massive and France had no answers.
Australia continued their barrage of points in the second quarter - Broekhoff nailing a three to push the lead to 32-17. The Boomers were forcing France into uncharacteristic mistakes and the turnovers were piling up.
Then Tony Parker took over. It was clear that the NBA veteran decided to take matters into his own hands and lifted France to an 11-4 run. At the half-time break, it was Australia leading by a narrow margin of 36-33.
The Boomers were not disheartened after a disappointing end to the first half, exploding out of the blocks in the third. Dellavedova was dishing out assists, first an alley-oop to Bogut for the slam, then to Mills for the lay-up. Bogut's presence inside was immense, coupled with Delly's vision, the pair were unstoppable.
Despite Ingles picking up his fourth personal foul early in the third quarter, the Boomers stayed calm and Broekhoff provided a nice scoring punch off the bench.
Bogut's incredible play was highlighted by his shooting efficiency but his passing and awareness were invaluable. Some of his passes were just insane - something that 7-footers just don't do. France simply didn't have an answer for Bogut and Baynes, who combined for 32 points, with their big men tandem of Rudy Gobert and Boris Diaw managing just 14 points.
To say that France's defense was lackadaisical would be an understatement. Australia took advantage of this and after a 25-15 third quarter, pushed the lead out to 61-48 at the final break.
Kevin Lisch earned plenty of game time and his play suggests he will get plenty more. He did his job; knocking down shots and staying active.
Dellavedova's defense was, as always a nuisance, for the opposition. He was diving for loose balls, intercepting passes and playing lock down defense.
The fourth quarter turned into a mere formality, as France couldn't force a comeback. Australia's ball movement and patience on offence was better than most expected, after somewhat disappointing play in the exhibition games.
Mills finished with 21 points and 5 assists, whilst Dellavedova added 4 points and 10 assists. Baynes ensured his presence was felt too, finishing with 14 points and 8 rebounds.
To say that this was a great start would be an understatement! Whilst it is only one game, the way in which Australia forced France into terrible offensive sets and sliced through their defense is extremely promising.
Bogut's 22 minutes of game time were some of the best he has produced in his Boomers career. He will undoubtedly be the key going forward. He will need to be managed to perfection after coming in underdone and looking exhausted after taking a seat in the final quarter.
The win is Australia's first in an opening game of an Olympics campaign since 1996 in Atlanta. After the game, Mills spoke to Andrew Gaze, "We are not hear to muck around. We mean business."
Australia have sent a message to the rest of the medal hopefuls that they are here to play. It's time to get behind your team, Australia!