A Canadian team minus all but one current NBA player has shocked the Australian Boomers at RAC Arena on Friday night winning the opening World Cup Exhibition Game by 20 points in quite the impressive display.
Canada’s team featured just the one player currently in the NBA, Orlando’s Khem Birch, but they played like a well-oiled machine on Friday night under the guidance of Toronto Raptors championship-winning coach Nick Nurse.
Canada led the entire game aside from the Boomers were up 6-4. The Canadians took over from there and answered every challenge from the Boomers to end up winning 90-70 with that 20-point margin the biggest of the night.
The game is the first of the World Cup Exhibition matches to be held leading into the FIBA World Cup in China starting August 31. The Boomers are playing these two games with Canada in Perth and then two next week against the USA, but it was far from the ideal start.
There were some encouraging signs with Patty Mills scoring 20 points to go with four assists while Jock Landale showed what potential he has as a big with 18 points and eight boards.
Joe Ingles finished with 11 points and six rebounds, Andrew Bogut 10 points and 13 boards and Chris Goulding five points. Jonah Bolden, Mitch Creek and Nick Kay scored two points each while Aron Baynes sat out for the Boomers.
Kevin Pangos had a night out for Canada hitting 4/6 from deep on his way to 18 points, six assists and four steals.
Adam Nembhard also produced 12 points, 10 rebounds and four assists with Kaza Kajami-Keane contributing 12 points, Kyle Wiltjer 11 points and six boards, Phil Scrubb 10 points and Owen Klassen 10 points and four rebounds.
They didn’t even need a lot out of Birch who had six points, five rebounds and three assists in 23 minutes.
Canada’s preparation might have been far from ideal and they might have only been left with one of their current NBA players, but they sure didn’t come out and play like there were any concerns.
By the time captain Kevin Pangos knocked down a three and Phil Scrubb scored, the Canadians led 15-6 after four and-a-half minutes. They then went up 18-8 with an Oshae Brissett triple and the Boomers had work to do.
They did manage a 6-0 run thanks to Andrew Bogut, Patty Mills and Jock Landale, and they soon closed the gap to within two with consecutive threes from Mills. But Canada wouldn’t be denied and led 25-20 at quarter-time thanks to an and-one from Owen Klassen.
Scrubb hit another three to open the second term to put Canada back up eight before Andrew Nembhard provided a spark with six quick points.
Landale continued to try and spark the Boomers but a late 8-0 for the visitors before half-time saw Canada head into the half-time break in control, leading 46-36.
That quickly became a 15-point margin to start the second half with five quick Canadian points before the Boomers responded through Bogut, Mills and Landale for the next six points.
Mills then hit a triple and Chris Goulding gave a quick spark of five points to draw scores level with 2:45 left in the third period. But again Canada answered with 10 of the last 13 points to be up 67-60 by three quarter-time.
If the Boomers were expecting to run over top of the Canadians, they would be in for a surprise. Australia did back to within five when Landale continued his strong showing, but then Canada took over.
They went on a 9-0 run including another triple from Kevin Pangos and then soon after when Thomas Scrubb also hit from downtown, they were up 15 and the game was over.
Kaza Kajami-Keane put the finishing touches on the 20-point win giving the Boomers with plenty to think about ahead of the rematch on Saturday night and Game 1 of the World Cup against Canada as well.
WORLD CUP EXHIBITION GAME
AUSTRALIAN BOOMERS 70 (Patty Mills 20, Jock Landale 18, Joe Ingles 11)
CANADA BASKETBALL 90 (Kevin Pangos 18, Andrew Nembhard 12, Kaza Kajami-Keane 12)