London: Mills monster slays Russia + VIDEO
Patty Mills dropped a monster three-point buzzer beater to send the Australian Boomers through to the Quarter Finals full of confidence after defeating Russia 82-80 in a rollercoaster final pool game.
Having a largely forgettable shooting game (5-of-16 from the field), Mills came up big when it mattered most, draining a three as time expired to give the Boomers their third consecutive win and inflict the first loss of the tournament on Russia.
Joe Ingles was the standout for the Boomers, finishing the night with 20 points and the crucial assist to Mills for the match-winning bucket, while it was another breakout performance from Matthew Dellavedova (10 points 7 assists) and David Andersen (13 points) was again influential.
The victory over the medal-contending Russians will give the Boomers a boost ahead of their highly-anticipated quarter final clash against the USA.
It was a strong start for the Boomers with Andersen, Ingles and Dellavedova making shots early, putting the highly-fancied Russians on the back foot as they trailed 15-7.
Sporting a strong squad that convincing won the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament, the Russians looked to cut the deficit, but had no answer to the improved outside shooting of the Boomers.
The first period ended with the Boomers leading 29-20, but that lead was quickly slashed as the Russians looked to get back into the contest.
Scores were levelled with more than six minutes left in the second period as the Russians appeared to gain the ascendency, but the confidence gained from back-to-back victories has the Boomers looking more dangerous on the offensive end.
Andersen’s third triple of the half sparked an 11-7 run that gave the Boomers a slight edge before late turnovers proved costly for Australia, with Russia trailing 46-45 at the main interval.
Despite having an interrupted preparation and struggling for minutes early in the tournament, big centre Aleks Maric came out strong in the third period, scoring the first six Boomer points.
This was a taste of things to come for the Boomers as Joe Ingles took centre stage, scoring nine points and taking the game by the scruff of the neck as Russia threatened to blow the Australians away.
The Ingles-inspired show ensured the Boomers went into the final quarter up by five points and the lead appeared to be enough heading into the closing minutes.
Buckets became hard to come by for the Boomers and Russia looked primed to steal the victory when they took the lead with just 4.1 seconds on the clock.
Enter Patty Mills. An inbound pass found Ingles who fed his star teammate and the rest is history. Mills drained the match-winner and the Boomers claim their biggest scalp of the tournament.
The Boomers now face the USA in a knockout Quarter Final on Thursday morning at 7:15am AEST on Foxtel Channel London 7.