Five thoughts on the Australian Boomers’ 108-92 win over Canada at the FIBA World Cup from NBL Media’s Liam Santamaria.
On Saturday, the day before Australia opened its World Cup with a win over Canada, Matthew Dellavedova was asked by media about his reconstructed jump shot.
‘Delly’ told media about the work he’s put into his stroke this NBA off-season and how his new technique allows for a quicker release. He thanked the reporter for his question and then flashed an almighty grin that spread right across his face.
It was as if he knew what was coming.
A day later, Dellavedova made it rain in the Boomers’ tournament-opening win, splashing 6-of-10 triples on his way to a game-high 24 points.
— NBL (@NBL) September 1, 2019
With Canadian head coach Nick Nurse trying desperately to shut down other players (he even slapped a box-and-one on Patty Mills at one point), ‘Delly’ was given plenty of room to operate and the Aussie guard made his opponents pay for closing him out short or over-helping off him.
He scored his first bucket in the game’s opening minutes – a pressure-relieving first field goal for the Boomers – and then drained a catch-and-shoot triple early in the second term.
But it was his 19 second-half points that fired Australia to victory, including three-from-four triples in the final term to secure the win.
Delly may have top-scored for the Boomers but it was Joe Ingles who was Australia’s best player on Sunday.
Ingles spent a lot of possessions handling the ball and his poise under pressure and expert decision-making were massively influential in the win.
The Utah Jazz swingman finished with 13 points, 5 rebounds and a game-high 9 assists while his length and activity at the defensive end also saw him pick up a game-high 3 steals.
A classy step-back three got Ingles going early and he then spent the rest of the opening quarter punishing Canada for crawling in defensively by drawing fouls on out-of-position defenders. His veteran savvy – specifically his tactic of ripping the ball through to clear space – placed Canada’s star guard Corey Joseph in early foul trouble and absolutely infuriated Nurse, who blew his top at the officials at quarter-time.
From there Ingles was a constant thorn in Canada’s side as he made a series of big plays throughout the game.
A contested fade-away on the shot clock buzzer extended Australia’s lead prior to the half, a pin-point lob to Aron Baynes capped an 8-0 fourth-quarter run and, after dropping a series of other crunch-time dimes, Ingles drove home the dagger with three minutes left: a stare-down triple that iced the game.
GREEN AND GOULDING
Another Boomer who played his role to perfection on Sunday was Chris Goulding, who checked in off the bench to score 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting.
The Melbourne United star scored 7 of his points in the opening quarter including a line-drive triple to close out the term and then added 7 more during a third term in which little else went right for the green and gold.
When the Boomers needed a spark, it was @ChrisGoulding43 who provided it; in the first & (most importantly) third quarter.
? Just a casual 16 points in 18 minutes from CG! ?
— Melbourne United (@MelbUnitedHQ) September 1, 2019
The Boomers had been outscored 7-22 since half-time when Goulding checked in midway through the third, but his offensive spark helped steady the ship and a few minutes later the Boomers were back in front.
“I’ve been lucky that my role’s been really defined and I know what to do when I come into games,” Goulding commented postgame.
“(I’m just) coming in and trying to do what I can to keep the scoreboard ticking over, stopping them from scoring and making sure we get a win.”
The Boomers got the win but man, they coughed the ball up way too often on Sunday night.
In the opening half – a half which Australia mostly controlled – the Boomers threw it away 9 times, gifting Canada extra possessions from which they scored almost a third of their points.
It actually became an even bigger issue at the start of the second half, when a series of live-ball turnovers helped fuel a game-changing Canadian run.
By three-quarter time, Canada had scored a massive 22 points from Aussie turnovers.
“We weren’t ready to go at the start of the third quarter and when you’re playing quality opposition they can put points on the board quick,” Goulding reflected postgame.
“We got slapped in the face a little bit (but) we realised the situation we were in and picked it up again and managed to get a solid win.”
The Boomers did close out the game well – they didn’t commit a single turnover in the final period – but the fact remains: Canada’s pressure bothered them. It’s an area that needs to tighten up if the Aussies are to progress deep into the tournament.
”It was good to be tested like that, in a game that matters,” Lemanis said.
“And find a way to hold our nerve, get back together, start playing some good basketball and work our way to what ended up being a good solid win.”
PILING ON THE POINTS
The 108 points Australia put on the board was the most the Boomers have ever scored in a World Cup game.
It also stands as the equal-highest score of the tournament thus far, matching the total put up by Italy in their Day One beat-down of the Philippines.
Racking up numbers in what was a high-octane game, the Boomers finished with six players in double figure points and notched up 23 total assists, equalling our nation’s record for dimes in a World Cup game.
— Basketball Australia (@BasketballAus) September 1, 2019
“The North American style is to be up and down and we’re happy to play the same way and that perhaps led to the scoreboard being what it was tonight,” Lemanis said.
“The games are as they are but what it does show is that when we play the right way, we’re prepared to put heat on the rim, we share the ball and people come in and play their roles we have a potent offensive group.”
As Lemanis noted, this Aussie team can score. Patty can get going at any time, Ingles is an excellent international play-maker, our bigs are good finishers, Goulding is a microwave and the group is in tune with each other at that end of the floor.
What will ultimately decide this group’s fate, however, won’t be their offensive output. It will be their ability to look after the rock and, even more importantly, what they can get done at the defensive end.
“People can put the ball in the basket, I don’t think that’s something we need to be concerned about,” Lemanis confirmed.
“If we can knuckle down and play well at the other end of the floor… if we can hang our hat on our defence then that’s what is going to give us a chance to have some success.”
Australia’s next game at the 2019 FIBA World Cup will be against Senegal on Tuesday at 5:30pm (AEST).