Tuesday 12 December 2017 / 12:13 AM

GALLANT BOOMERS PUSH USA ALL THE WAY

Australia solidified their growing reputation as a likely medallist in the men’s basketball competition in Rio with a gallant 98-88 loss to the star-studded USA outfit on Thursday morning (AEST).

The Boomers held the ‘Dream Team’ to level at the end of the first quarter, and took a stunning five-point lead at halftime. USA powered back with a 21-13 third quarter, and ultimately outlasted the underdogs in the final term to prevail by 10 points.

Australia’s inside defence was magnificent throughout, bustling the Americans and forcing them to the outside. But USA’s superstar qualities shone through, with team captain Carmelo Anthony hitting 9-for-15 from three-point range to top-score with 31 points.

Kyrie Irving tallied 19 points.

Anthony’s back-to-back threes gave USA a crucial six-point buffer early in the fourth quarter, and Australia were always up against it reclaiming the lead – though they refused to through in the towel, dogged to the final buzzer.

Although his radar went off late in the game, Patty Mills was again superb with 30 points on 11-for-22 shooting, including 5-for-11 from three. Andrew Bogut made his presence felt with 15 points, Matthew Dellavedova came up with another double-double (11 points, 11 assists) and David Andersen came up big off the bench with 13 points on 5-for-6 shooting.

Australia were just as impressive defensively, which an out-of-sorts Kevin Durant would almost certainly vouch for. The Golden State Warriors recruit – USA’s standout in the opening two games – went 4-for-16 from the floor, harassed constantly by the Boomers.

If, as expected, the nations finish first and second in their group, they won’t meet again until the gold medal final match – and what a showdown that would be, based on the Boomers’ overachieving performance against the cream of the NBA.

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About the author

Will Evans

CBS’s Editor-in-Chief and lead rugby league, union and cricket writer, Will is a Christchurch-based freelancer, also writing for Big League and Rugby League Review magazines, and The New Daily website. Will has written four rugby league books.

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