The time has come for finals play to begin with our Opals getting play under way tonight against Serbia in their quarter final at Midnight.
Our Boomers kick things off Wednesday night (midnight) taking on the might of Lithuania, who over the last 2 games have seemingly lost their way…or was it on purpose??
By losing their last 2 games Lithuania have fallen to 3rd spot to take on our Boomers in the Quarter Final, who they beat very comfortably pre Olympics. In doing so they also avoided the USA until the final if they could get there. That being said had they won out they also would’ve avoided the States till the final so who really knows…
Our Opals have looked anything but convincing in every game they’ve played so far but the resilience shown from this group shows they’ll do anything they can to make sure they win, even if they aren’t playing their best basketball. That is a great sign, as hopefully with finals now here they can finally hit their straps and take care of business. They definitely control their own destiny, also avoiding Team USA till the final, and with Liz Cambage playing like she has a point to prove (and being extremely dominant at that) they’ll be hard to beat going into the final.
Team USA in the women’s have cruised, unlike their Men’s team, but you never know. If we can get to the final and get them on an off day you never know!!
That brings us to our Boomers. What an unbelievable group stage! Over powering European giants France in the opener, led by Tony Parker, in what came to a shock to many! Andrew Bogut was nothing short of brilliant in the opener and sent out a warning shot that he was fit and firing and willing to do what ever it took to win our Boomers our first medal!
Follow that up with a brilliant performance against Serbia (who I believe are the dark horse to win this), Patty Mills was exceptional in the last quarter leading us to a big win!
Boomers teams of the past would go to water in situations like Serbia gave us, opening up a 9 point lead in the 3rd. Delly was huge keeping us level headed, having a monster double double (23 points 13 assists) he looked like the kid who held Steph Curry in check in two years back in the NBA Finals series when Kyrie went down hurt!
Then the moment that almost stopped this country. We took on the might of Team USA “The Dream Team” and unbelievably opened up a big lead to start the game and led at Half time! The miracle was on! Scores still level with 7 to play, unfortunately Kyrie and Melo (9 3s) being the difference in the end as we went on to lose by 10. An unbelievable effort and a warning shot sent to the rest of the competition that we weren’t here to just make up the numbers anymore!
Which brings us to our quarter final. For the first time in a very long time we have avoided the dreaded cross over with Team USA and face off against Lithuania at Midnight Wednesday night. If there’s ever a time to play them it is now. We are at peak performance, they are not. But they definitely won’t be a push over. This is a team that’s been there and done that all before, so we’ve got to start strong and put them away early while heads are still down, losing by 50 to Spain a couple of days ago!!
If we manage to win against Lithuania we’d go on to face the winner of Croatia and Serbia. Just a little rivalry between those two teams…for a shot at the Gold Medal game! That game may very well be a blood bath.
As much as I’d love to see the States defeated, I’d also love to see our boys make the Gold Medal game and play them again. The Americans have come out calling Australia Dirty and Grubby. Welcome to world basketball fellas! Not everything is given to us on a platter we work for every win and will continue to do so!!
So let’s all cheer loud and proud for our Opals and Boomers and get to these Gold Medal games and give this thing a real shake! The whole country is behind the both of them and I have no doubt with both getting to the big show it’ll no doubt continue to lift the status of Basketball Australia!