Australia’s ability to walk away victors from their initial Olympic match up opening round is not something that’s happened since 1996 (Atlanta Olympics). The team now find themselves in an amazing situation with a very real chance of finishing second in their group. This would result in missing a potential crossover game against #2 Spain.
Unfortunately, with the Boomers’ surprising smackdown of France, Serbia will be thinking the exact same thing. For Australia’s medal chances, winning against another big name European country will be a necessity.
Previous games: A 86-62 victory vs. Venezuela
Statistical leaders: Bogdan Bogdanovic 19 points, Vladimir Stimac 9 rebounds, Nemanja Nedovic 4 assists
Starting Five: Stefan Markovic Bogdan Bogdanovic, Nikola Kalinic, Stefan Bircevic, Miroslav Raduljica
Most Important Player – Milos Teodosic
Taking a look at the box score of the Serbia vs Venezuela game and it might not be apparent that Teodosic will be the man the Boomers prioritise stopping. He had only five points on 1/5 shooting to go with six turnovers so his 2016 Olympic form isn’t great.
But this is a man who has led CSKA Moscow to the Euroleague Final Four for the past four years and has been called on of the best basketball players outside of the NBA.
So to see him explode against the Aussies after a poor performance wouldn’t be surprising.
This is where the Andrej Lemanis selection of Damian Martin could pay dividends. Martin’s strength and defensive prowess may be what see’s Martin log his first “serious” minutes in an Olympic matchup if Teodosic starts to dominate the game.
What we must do
1. Continue passing and being unselfish: The Boomers had 29 assists on 35 made shots. If they continue to move the ball like they did against France our record will be 2-0.
2. Pester, Pester, Pester. Defence on the French ball handlers was intense last game and disrupted their offence completely. France were forced to attempt low percentage shots or turn the ball over as are result.
3. Come out with something to prove. The French game is behind them, the rest of the pool may be looking at the Aussies as genuine threats now. It’s likely the Serb’s come out swinging after seeing Australia’s demolition of the French, so the Boomers will need to match or surpass that intensity.
What we need to avoid
1. Don’t get complacent. Being 1-0 is great but the Boomers can’t just expect to beat Serbia because they defeated a team many feel are better than the Serbs already.
2. Don’t lose confidence because of momentum. Tony Parker led a French comeback in the second quarter and cut the lead from fifteen to three. To the Boomer’s credit, they weathered the storm and were able regain a healthy lead again. If Serbia comes at us, the team cannot buckle under the pressure.
3. Don’t let Patty Mills chuck it. He played fantastically but playing within the game plan, but he has been known to shoot a shot or two that he maybe should have kept holstered. Feel the game and let it come to you Patrick.
Australia by seven. Confidence for the Boomers is sky high right now and if they play like they did in the opening game, it’ll be two from two.