Written by Megan Hustwaite.
The Boomers are a step closer to an elusive Olympic medal after winning all of their pool games for the first time.
Australia played tough and brilliant basketball during its 89-76 victory over Germany on Saturday night finishing top of Group B with a 3-0 record.
Captain Patty Mills was superb and topped the stat sheet 24 points and six assists, Nick Kay- into the starting line-up to replace the injured Aron Baynes- was a standout with 16 points, four boards and four assists and a ton of composure while Jock Landale (18 points including 7-10 from the field) built on his form earlier in the week as the Boomers registered their highest score in Tokyo
Coach Brian Goorjian paid tribute to his team and its form to date.
“A core of this group has been together for 12 years and it’s got a special camaraderie and plays with a special team ship and it’s got a chance in these games of importance to showcase that.
“As far as game style – it’s the extra pass on offence and it’s the five guys playing together and rotating defensively. The first game we played against Nigeria – they may be the toughest team we’ve played defensively – but we had 24 turnovers. Tonight, we played a very physical, well-coached team and had 6 turnovers.
“The key for us tonight again was the defensive end of the floor, the extra pass, getting the ball from side-to-side then putting the ball in the right guy’s hand.
“Long way to go for us but nice progression from one game to two games to tonight the third game.”
Landale burst out of the blocks landing the first five points while it took Germany three minutes to score doing so through Isaac Bonga.
The opposition got on a roll, a Johannes Thiemann bucket making it a 9-0 run for the Germans who were shooting at a brilliant clip. Duop Reath broke the drought and then, after some early shooting woes, Mills finally connected from deep to put Australia on top, 10-9
The sizes exchanged baskets before Dante Exum regained the lead for his country via a 3-point play.
While Germany found its rhythm from the field, Australia’s wounds were self-inflicted.
Joshiko Saibou pushed the margin to seven before Chris Goulding’s first score of the tournament, a crucial triple, trimmed the difference to four points at quarter time.
Germany instantly added two to its buffer before a Mills triple halved it. It was the skipper who stamped his authority on the term with eight points, a jumper sending him into double figures for the game.
Kay’s first score in the game made it a point the difference while Nathan Sobey entered the game, added a spark and penetrated scoring his first Olympic points.
Germany’s dominance on the boards and some big shots helped them weather the Australian storm as scores were locked on 38 at half time.
Mills came out of the main break firing and with his hot hand gave the Boomers their biggest lead (10 points) of the game so far.
Andreas Obst broke through for Germany who would go on a 10-0 run to level the scores 50 apiece. His team dominating the glass and offensive boards in the process.
Growing in confidence, Kay knocked down a 3-ball to send the Boomers back ahead. The lead would then see-saw, Landale sinking another triple with a Thybulle steal and lay up giving the Boomers a 66-59 buffer at the final break.
Scoreless for three quarters, Joe Ingles found his rhythm in the last knocking down two triples. Mills and Kay continued to lead the way as the Boomers notched a third straight win, ending their pool games in flawless fashion.
Australia 89 (Mills 24 points, Landale 18, Kay 16) defeated Germany 76 (Obst 17 points, Thiemann 11, Giffey 11)
The Last Word
with Brett Maher, triple Olympian (1996, 2000, 2004)
“Great win by the Boomers, awesome to see a great team effort. End-of-the-bench contribution from Nathan Sobey was great. Nick Kay is now my favourite player!”