Boomers don't fear tough assignment

Guy Hand, NZ Newswire August 7, 2012, 12:09 am

To the Boomers, an Olympic quarter-final match-up with the United States' Dream Team is more than just a tell-your-grandkids moment.

High on Patty Mills' buzzer-beating three-pointer for the win over Russia in their final preliminary match on Monday, the Boomers say they don't fear the mission impossible of Olympic basketball assignments.

The United States will square off against Australia if they beat Argentina, as expected, in their final preliminary match on Monday night (Tuesday AEST) and top their group.

But while mindful of what's coming, Boomers coach Brett Brown and Mills are relishing the chance to test their three-game winning streak against the bling-studded Dream Team headed by LeBron James and Kobe Bryant.

"I'm very familiar with what we're about to encounter," said Brown, also an assistant coach with NBA side San Antonio Spurs.

"Our focus is just about playing prideful Australian basketball. It's a competitive situation that we embrace. We look forward to playing that level of talent.

"We have a lot of guys who want to use this opportunity as a measuring stick to see where they're at.

"We look forward to continuing our good form against the world's best players."

Among those relishing a yardstick will be Mills, whose extraordinary late three-pointer gave Australia an 82-80 victory over the top team in Group B, and Joe Ingles, who piled on 20 points to continue a breakout tournament.

"It felt really good. It's one of those shots you dream of making at the Olympic Games and to do it against a good team like Russia is great," Mills said.

"We've gotten better each game. there's a lot on the line. We understand how good they (the US) are, but this is a great opportunity."

Mills' buzzer-beater - to add to a remarkable series of individual highlights from Australia's men's and women's basketballers at these Games - gave the Boomers victory after they trailed by a point with four seconds left.

Vitaliy Fridzon's pair of free-throws off a Matt Nielsen foul had threatened to give Russia victory in a match tense and tight all the way through - though it had no effect on the final in-group positions.

While Russia remained top of Group B, the Boomers finished fourth in the pool.