The Boomers, the Australian men’s national basketball team has suffered the worst of possible starts to their Olympic campaign.
On Tuesday they were blown out by Spain 82-70, a score line that looks much better than it was, two days after losing by the slimmest of margins to Brazil.
The Boomers still have a chance to make the top four from Group B, but for a chance in the next round they must finish at any position higher than fourth- an automatic date with the newest version of the Dream Team.
The Australians won quarters one and four and actually looked great to begin the game, but were so comprehensively beaten in the middle quarters that the game was over early into the third.
Without NBA star center Andrew Bogut, the Australians were too small for the elite frontcourt rotation of NBA stars Pau and Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka.
Pau had his way with whoever the Aussies sent at him. He managed 20 points on 8-13 shooting while brother Marc played 27 minutes and scored 12 despite missing most of the first when he picked up two quick fouls.
It was hard to pick out of main problem for the Aussies. Again their outside shooting was dismal yet they seemed happy to launch from beyond the arc rather than attack the hole- they attempted exactly zero first half free throws.
Stellar defence and ferocious attack on the offensive boards gave them a five-point quarter time lead, but that disappeared thereafter. Spain dominated the offensive boards and swung the ball with precision allowing them to knock down most of their threes during that stretch.
With the team’s lone NBA player, Patty Mills, having another off shooting night the Boomers were forced to rely too heavily on guys like Joe Ingles who appears to be the only other guy on the roster able to create his own shot.
Australia plays the 0-2 China tomorrow.
The women’s national team, the Opals, lost a heart breaker in overtime on Monday against France, but it was this ridiculous shot that got them there. One of the Olympic highlights for sure.
The girls play again today and are ranked second in the world overall heading into the tournament.