Spain edge out Boomers in Game 2
A late surge from Spain has given them victory over a gallant Australian Boomers 81-75 in Game 2 of their series in Malaga this morning (AEST).
In the hunt for a giant-killing win right up to the final minutes, luck deserted the impressive Boomers late on, with several key moments going against the visiting side.
Trailing by just four points with six minutes remaining the Boomers appeared primed to take it down to the wire before the home side, led by Pau Gasol (16 points) and Jose Calderon (10 points, six assists), closed it out late to record a narrow six-point win.
Australian head coach Brett Brown was upbeat after back-to-back single digit defeats, believing his troops able to mix it with quality opponents.
“There were a lot of positives we got out of tonight’s game and the series in general,” Brown said.
“We realise we’re not that far off it.”
Patty Mills was again impressive scoring seven of his 15 points (and three assists) in the first quarter, while David Andersen (12 points), Joe Ingles (11 points, 6 rebounds) and David Barlow (11 points, 3-of-4 three pointers) all had an impact on the offensive end.
After letting Spain out of the blocks in Game 1 in was a far more aggressive Boomers side that started Game 2, with Patty Mills leading the charge scoring seven of the first 11 Australian points.
This intensity didn’t wane throughout the first period, with Brad Newley and Matthew Dellavedova capping off great work on the defensive end to give the Boomers a 19-18 advantage.
After keeping Spain star Pau Gasol to just two points in the first quarter, the NBA All-Star began to find this range as the hosts looked to take control.
The introduction of Aron Baynes helped the Boomers stay in touch with a solid defensive effort against award winning NBA centres. Offensively the centre added five points to his five rebounds, three of which were on the offensive glass.
Trailing by one point at the half it was Joe Ingles who led from the front for the Boomers in the third period, making critical buckets as Spain looked to push away.
The Regal FC Barcelona star scored eight points as the Boomers stayed within a point heading into the final period.
Down the stretch the absence of centre Aleks Maric and captain Matt Nielsen proved telling with the big combination of Gasol and Serge Ibaka making life difficult for the Boomers.
Maric managed only four minutes in Game 1 before a heavy knock to the leg ended his night, with staff monitoring his health prior to London.
Nielsen is being closely monitored as he manages hamstring soreness that has restricted him to 10 minutes of playing time in each of the past two games, making the performance of the team all the more impressive.
Brown said while his team can take plenty out of two games against Spain, there is still room for improvement when in possession.
“The turnovers ended up hurting us more than anything. We had 16 turnovers and some key turnovers during important moments in the second half of the game,” Brown said.
“That’s the area that’s most important to our preparation and lead up to London.”
The Boomers now prepare for their final stop before London in Strasburg, France where they will face Brazil (Monday morning AEST) and France (Tuesday morning AEST).
Australia 75 (Mills 15 Andersen 12 Ingles 11 Barlow 11) def. by Spain 81 (Gasol 16 Calderon 16 Llull 14)