The Australian Boomers are on the verge of making history at the FIBA World Cup in China.
After defeating Czech Republic 82-70 on Wednesday night, the national team move on to the final four in Beijing.
The Boomers were challenged by a side competing in their first World Cup, but it was a 30 – 18 point third term that gave the green and gold breathing room. The contest didn’t have the energy and class compared to previous wins over France and Lithuania, but it was a grind it out win lead by national hero Patty Mills.
The San Antonio Spurs guard dropped 24 points to go with six assists, as contributions came from veterans Andrew Bogut, Chris Goulding and Joe Ingles. The Boomers now move to a perfect 6-0 record for the tournament.
Czech’s only NBA listed athlete, Tomas Satoransky continued his stellar cup campaign, finishing with a near-triple double of 13 points, 13 assists and nine rebounds. They will now face European rivals Poland in a classification match.
Mills continues to be a national treasure, with a World Cup average of 22 points and five assists, he is in the running for the competition MVP, competing with the likes of Luis Scola, Evan Fournier and Ricky Rubio.
24 PTS | 6 AST | 4 REBpic.twitter.com/Y3kRmkGecA
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) September 11, 2019
With no medal in any major competition, Australia will be hoping for their highest ever finish when they face basketball juggernauts Spain on Friday night in Beijing.
The match arrives with some rivalling history, when the Boomers were left heartbroken after a one-point defeat in Rio at the 2016 Olympics – finishing in fourth place.
Wednesday night was a dream night for Aussie hoop fans, with Cup favourites USA knocked out in dramatic fashion to world No. 3 France. NBA stars Rudy Gobert and Evan Fournier were instrumental, delivering a crushing blow to Greg Popovich’s side who have dealt with heavy criticism for the quality of their squad.
The lane now opens up for a Boomers charge, with a redemption game on the minds of the Australians. After finishing fifth way back in 1994, this is officially the national side’s best run of any World Cup – but it’s far from over.
Catch all the action against Spain from 6pm (AEST) Friday the 13th.