Led by Patty Mills, the Australian Boomers defeated Slovenia by a final score of 107-93 to capture bronze at the Tokyo Olympics and win the program's first-ever medal.
Mills scored a game-high 42 points to go along with nine assists. He was one of five players on the Boomers to score in double figures, the others being Joe Ingles (16), Jock Landale (14), Dante Exum (12) and Matisse Thybulle (11).
🥉 BOOMERS WIN!!- NBA Australia (@NBA_AU) August 7, 2021
🇦🇺 Australia win their first ever medal in men's basketball, behind a monster 4️⃣2️⃣ PT performance from @Patty_Mills#Tokyo2020 #Basketball
RECAP: https://t.co/B1IdlL1pWg pic.twitter.com/mICB7Ogbwy
Luka Doncic flirted with another triple-double despite dealing with a wrist injury, posting 22 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.
For more on the game, some takeaways...
1. Take a bow, Patty
There's no other place to start.
Mills was the star of the show, finishing with 42 points on 15-for-31 shooting from the field. It's the sixth-most points ever scored in a men's basketball game at the Olympics.
"We've been waiting for this moment for a long time. I don't know whether to laugh, cry, smile. It's a lot of emotions," Mills said after the game.
💚💛 #Tokyo2020 | #Basketball pic.twitter.com/cB587zdZjD- FIBA | #Basketball #Tokyo2020 (@FIBA) August 7, 2021
Mills got it going early with 25 points in the first half. He then poured in 10 points in a third quarter that saw Australia extend their lead to 11 points.
Mills knocked down four 3-pointers in the game, but he did the bulk of his damage in the paint. He was able to get out in transition a few times and was aggressive attacking Slovenia's bigs on switches in the halfcourt, helping him earn a game-high 10 free throws.
Mills also dished out a game-high nine assists, many of which came at key points of the game.
Just a dominant performance from start to finish from Mills.
2. Luka Doncic does it all
Doncic filled up the stat sheet once again, but Australia was able to make life difficult for him.
Not only did Doncic commit a game-high eight turnovers, but he shot only 7-for-20 from the field and 3-for-13 from the 3-point line.
While Australia switched a decent amount on defence, Matisse Thybulle drew the primary assignment of guarding Doncic. Dante Exum also spent some time on the two-time All-Star. The two of them pressured Doncic well, not giving him much space to work with and preventing him from ever being able to find a rhythm.
Doncic wasn't able to get it done against Australia, but leading Slovenia to fourth place is still a tremendous accomplishment.
3. Connecting the dots
Speaking of Thybulle, he did a little bit of everything for the Boomers.
Logging 30 minutes, Thybulle finished with 11 points, five rebounds, four assists, three steals and one block. He made timely plays on both ends of the court, from coming up with crucial stops on defence to grabbing three offensive rebounds, the last of which resulted in a putback dunk to punctuate Australia's win.
Exum made his presence felt as well.
Exum scored 12 points off the bench, five of which came in one of the most important parts of the game. Slovenia went on a 13-7 run to start the fourth quarter to cut Australia's lead to five points. Exum responded by drawing a charge, knocking down a 3-pointer, throwing down a dunk in transition and setting up Joe Ingles for a 3-pointer to extend Australia's lead back up to nine with 4:15 to go.
That was the closest Slovenia got the rest of the way.
4. The vet shows up when it counts
Ingles was Australia's second-leading scorer with 16 points.
He had a quiet first half, but Ingles came alive in the third quarter, knocking down three 3-pointers in the frame. (He started the game 0-for-4 from deep). He then made one more triple in the fourth quarter, which helped Australia create some distance from Slovenia heading into the final stretch.
Ingles also pulled down nine rebounds and dished out four assists.
5. Where the game was decided
Some key stats...
- Slovenia committed seven more turnovers than Australia (17-10)
- Australia outscored Slovenia 19-8 in points off of turnovers, 46-42 in points in the paint and 19-7 on fastbreak points
- Slovenia outscored Australia 41-18 in bench points and 14-10 on second chance opportunities
- There were six lead changes, but Australia led for 34:58
6. Final results
And with that, men's basketball at the Tokyo Olympics is a wrap.
The United States finished in first, France finished in second, Australia finished in third and Slovenia finished in fourth.
Prior to these Olympics, Australia's best finish was fourth (1988, 1996, 2000, 2016).
"It's time to bring the Olympic medal home," said Mills.
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