Boomers push Spain to the limit
The Australian Boomers leave the city of Granada with confidence after pushing European Champions Spain all the way in the Game 1 of their two-game series, narrowly going down 75-69 this morning.
In front of a 10,000 strong pro-Spanish crowd the Boomers had the home fans stunned to silence as they led by four points midway through the final quarter, with an upset on the cards
A late flourish from the hosts denied the Boomers what would have been a historic victory, securing a six-point final margin.
Brad Newley led scorers for the Boomers dropping 16 points, with Patty Mills adding 14 and four assists, and David Andersen marking his return in the Green and Gold with 12 points and five rebounds.
Australian head coach Brett Brown believes the experience was a worthwhile one for his squad, but rued the missed opportunity the game presented.
“I think any time you get the opportunity to play Spain, in Spain 10 days before the Olympics Games start is a great experience,” Brown said.
“We leave the game proud of our effort, but really disappointed in a game we feel we could have won.”
Brown highlighted his team’s defensive effort for special praise, but still believes there is work to be done to further tighten an already impressive component of the Boomers’ game.
“Our defence was very good. We held them to 75 points at 40 per cent (shooting),” Brown said.
“They went on a 15-0 run starting at the end of the third period and continued at the start of the fourth and that’s the lesson, more than anything, we need to dig in and figure out how they got on that run and have the ability to arrest it.”
An aggressive Newley earned praise from Brown in what was a strong team performance.
“I thought Brad Newley was great staying all game in attack mode, David Andersen showed why he is one of the better players in Europe the past season, playing in Italy, and Patty (Mills) started to find his rhythm at times throughout the game,” Brown said.
“All-in-all it was a great team effort.”
It was Spain out of the blocks the fastest as NBA star Pau Gasol scored the first four points of the game on his way to a game-high 22 points.
As has been the case so often, it was the work at the defensive end that slowed down the Spaniards, with stops resulting in transition buckets for the Boomers.
A late flourish from Andersen had the Boomers within three points at the quarter time and this momentum helped the Boomers to the lead early in the second period before Gasol and co went 10-2 run to hold a seven-point advantage.
A moment of class from Mills allowed David Barlow to knock down a wide-open three-pointer and change the momentum of the game.
The Boomers began to make things difficult for the Spanish on the offensive end, with long bombs from Mills, Newley and Ingles ensuring the scores were level at the main break.
A tense and tight affair continued in the third period, with the Boomers heading into the final quarter just one-point down.
Big three-pointers from Newley and Matthew Dellavedova had the Boomers’ lead at four points with just over six minutes remaining.
Spain responded to the Boomers’ pressure going on a 9-0 run to regain the lead and the ascendency in the final minutes.
The Boomers will have a chance to get revenge on Spain when the two teams meet in Malaga on Thursday morning (6:15am AEST).
Australia 69 (Newley 16 Mills 14 Andersen 12) def. by Spain 75 (P Gasol 22 Reyes 12)
Get all the latest news, results and insights into the Boomers road to London at the BA website (www.basketball.net.au) and don’t forget to like the Boomers on Facebook and follow on Twitter.