Boomers confident despite opening loss

Guy Hand, NZ Newswire July 30, 2012, 2:11 am

After falling short with the bravest of fightbacks, the Boomers are now targeting the biggest of upsets.

Australia's Olympic Games men's basketball campaign became only slightly more difficult following the Boomers' gut-wrenching four-point loss to Brazil in their opening match on Sunday.

But it would steepen significantly without a win over world No.2 Spain in their next match on Tuesday - defeat there at best putting them on a quarter-final collision course with the star-studded United States.

Yet star guard Patty Mills believes the Boomers can produce a seismic upset against Spain - if they can eliminate the flat patches and turnovers which killed them in the 75-71 loss to Brazil.

"We take a lot of positives out of (Brazil)," Mills said.

"There's still that belief. There's disappointment with that loss but there's still belief we can do something special.

"We can definitely beat (Spain).

"Strategy's not going to change. There's a few specific things we need to work on going into Spain, but generally when we play the way we want to play, we're up there with the best."

Mills was outstanding for the Boomers, tipping in 20 points, seven rebounds and four assists in a spectacular first three quarters.

Then David Andersen and Joe Ingles took charge for a fightback from 13 points down to close within two points with 30 seconds remaining thanks to an Ingles bucket.

Mills then almost forced a turnover from Brazil, but was unable to gather the loose ball, and instead conceded a foul for the South Americans to make the game safe from the free-throw stripe.

Ingles finished with 15 points, while Andersen had 14 points and eight rebounds.

Ex-NBA player Leandrinho Barbosa led Brazil's scorers with 16 points.

The Boomers' 19 turnovers for the match proved costly in the final wash-up - coach Brett Brown saying that was an area which they needed to fix quickly.

"Our group showed great resolve, we didn't quit when the game was clearly going in the other direction," Brown said.

"But any tournament is a long journey ... and we'll try to get better inch by inch. I'm proud."

The Boomers need to make the top four in their six-team Group B to qualify for the quarter-finals.