Boomers crush Lithuania to reach semis
The saying goes that timing is everything.
For the Boomers, their timing is nothing short of impeccable as their red-hot form now sees them through to the semi-finals of the Olympics, where they will face either Serbia or Croatia for a chance to battle for gold.
Consecutive three’s to open the game from Matthew Dellavedova showed Lithuania the Aussies meant business, as they led from start to finish in the 90-64 drubbing of the world’s third ranked side.
Drawing four offensive fouls in the first quarter alone gave the Aussies the momentum from the get-go, which it never surrendered.
Patty Mills hit two triples of his own in the term, his hustle to grab the rebound off his own missed free throw just one example of the Boomers doing whatever was needed to advance to the final four of the tournament.
Dellavedova’s buzzer-beating three over the outstretched hands of Lithuania’s Antanas Kavaliauskas punctuated the Aussies strong first quarter.
Mills’ hot shooting continued into the second, as he connected on another three, helping to build Australia’s 18-point lead going into the half.
Dellavedova and Mills had more combined points (31) than the entire Lithuanian team (30) in the first half, their offensive explosion the key to the Boomer’s scintillating play.
As great as Australia’s shooting was, its signature high pressure, in your face defence was its hallmark once again as the Lithuanians were unable to get into any sort of rhythm offensively all game, particularly in the second and third quarters – scoring just 26 points over that span.
Lithuania’s 4/15 shooting from the three-point arc highlighted its paltry offensive showing and Australia’s dominance on the defensive end.
Andrew Bogut displayed his typical outstanding defence, but it was his connection with Damian Martin for a monstrous alley-oop midway through the second quarter that was arguably the highlight of the game.
The Aussie lead got to a game-high 32-points in the fourth quarter, late baskets from Lithuania reduced the final margin to 26.
Mills was the star of the show once again for the Boomers, his team-high 24 points bringing his points average at the Rio Olympics to 21.2 per game, second highest for the tournament.
Australia will play in the semi-finals for the first time in 16 years, with all the form and confidence in the world after its massive win.
A bigger goal is still on the mind for the Australians, according to Joe Ingles, “we came into the tournament with a goal in mind and we haven’t achieved that yet.”
Dellavedova reiterating Ingles’ sentiment, stating “This win, we’re obviously happy with it but it’s just another step in the journey.”
An injury cloud over Bogut and heavy losses in its pre-Olympics campaign muted expectations for the Boomers heading into the tournament.
Four wins in group play and a destruction of Lithuania in the quarters later, Australia now has a real shot at playing for and winning a gold medal at these Games.