MELBOURNE - The Australian Boomers made history on Saturday, earning their first-ever win over Team USA, with a hard-fought 98-94 victory at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne.
In front of 52,079 fans, the Boomers ended Team USA's 78-game win streak, thanks to 30 points from Patty Mills, who took over down the stretch, with 13 points in the fourth quarter, including the team's final 10 points.
"Patty's a quality world-class scorer," Boomers head coach, Andrej Lemanis said during the post-game press conference.
"As the game unfolds and you need looks, we're gonna run stuff for him; he's involved in the action, and will certainly be the first option in those actions. But, he's also got some good players around him, which enables him to get those looks as well."
"It feels awesome. … I hope we can all build on this."@Patty_Mills describes his emotions after leading @BasketballAus to its first ever win over the U.S. pic.twitter.com/0F25tkegYG- NBA TV (@NBATV) August 24, 2019
After the USA took a 10-point lead in the third quarter, Australia rallied to take 78-76 lead into the fourth, thanks to eight points from Mills in the space of 45 seconds.
With the game in the balance, it was Mills, Joe Ingles, Andrew Bogut and Mitch Creek who combined to make some big plays on both ends to keep the Boomers in front.
Ingles' three-pointer with 3:36 gave Australia an 88-87 lead, before Mills caught fire, scoring four-straight buckets down the stretch to help the Boomers pull away.
Joe Ingles (15 PTS) from downtown!- NBA (@NBA) August 24, 2019
💻📱: https://t.co/HbtDcrFgfZ pic.twitter.com/MWDWPb11Ia
Mills' 30 points came on 10-of-22 shooting from the field, while Ingles recorded 15 points and seven assists in a much-improved performance after a quiet outing on Thursday.
The Utah Jazz forward was at his aggressive best tonight, probing the USA defence from the perimeter, opening up the key for some easy buckets at the rim for the Boomers' big men as they recorded 22 assists on their 28 made field goals, much to the delight of Lemanis.
"He [Ingles] was more impactful in what it is to do with I guess the way we chose to utilise him," Lemanis said post-game.
"I though we didn't as a coaching staff do a nice job of getting him touches and looks in that first game and certainly wanted to change that coming in tonight and he's a quality, player, a quality player of the ball, makes good decisions and we need to ensure that we are using all the pieces that we have at our disposal to get the best out of the group."
Joe Ingles sends it ⬆️- NBA Australia (@NBA_AU) August 24, 2019
Aron Baynes throws it ⬇️#BoomersUSA pic.twitter.com/jd3Dzsw2Js
Andrew Bogut added 16 points, nine rebounds and four assists, playing a pivotal role in the win, with his playmaking from the elbow and strong defensive contributions laying the foundations for Australia's historic win.
"It's huge for us," Bogut said post-game. "It's a friendly, so we do wanna keep it in context, but we did make history tonight. The first senior men's Australian team to beat an American team."
🇦🇺 @andrewbogut finds @Patty_Mills with the slick no-look dime 👀 #BoomersUSA pic.twitter.com/sJi3Ay3E0d- NBA Australia (@NBA_AU) August 24, 2019
For the USA, Harrison Barnes scored 20 points on the night, while Kemba Walker came off the bench with 22 in their first loss in nearly 13 years.
"I need to start by congratulating the Boomers," Team USA head coach Gregg Popovich, said to kick off his post-game press conference.
"The Boomers were really great tonight. They did a great job. It's really a testament to how long they've stuck together, to get this accomplished tonight, so I've gotta give 'em big credit. Both ends of the court. They were competitive. They executed really well. They came up with the victory. That needs to be said."
Australia had lost all 26 of their previous meetings against Team USA, with Mills and co ushering in a new era of Australian basketball.
"Obviously, this is just an exhibition game," Mills told reporters post-game.
"But to see the full support coming in full force, it just shows that the support is there and to be able to feed off this hopefully for years to come and get basketball back to the high-quality sport that it is within this country, I think is important."