Disregard an exhibition series against Team USA. Disregard a first-up, almost must-win game against Group rivals Canada. The test — the real test — for the Boomers’ medal credentials was always going to hinge on a confrontation with historical rivals, Lithuania.
Consider the stakes: actual tournament play, a grind-it-out style that would test the Australians, a surging opponent backed by a frenetic, roaring, travelling band of supporters (and their drums) and media alike. Both will travel to Nanjing — this was confirmed days ago — but the winner of this vaunted Group H clash would have more than just bragging rights within this storied rivalry.
“They’re great in their sets – they’ve got winks on blinks on counters,” said Boomers assistant coach Luc Longley, a few days ago. “They’ve got enough bigs to be a problem inside. They’ve got enough shooting. They’re just a very good basketball team — well organised, well disciplined, and they care a lot.”cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale
“Obviously, got the bigs inside, big, physical bigs,” said Matthew Dellavedova. “But I think [they’re] a very even team — a lot of perimeter and wing scoring as well.”
Boomers power forward David Barlow explained to ESPN that the level of detail has been astounding when it came to preparation for their bodies, their schemes, their opponents.
The Boomers have been fully aware of the potential permutations and competition mechanisms which have ensured that every game, every point, means so much in the this tournament.
Weaver described the challenges in-game adjustments, of reading and reacting to what Lithuania would throw at them, in the manner of a high-level chess game. To win, the Boomers would need to solve those puzzles deep in the trenches.cheap nfl jerseys china nike
Shortcomings are amplified in the cauldron of a tournament, and within the company of elite competition. In Lithuania, the Boomers found a creditable puzzle to solve, as they survived a blistering second-half rally to win 87-82, and carry a precious one-game advantage into the second round of group play.
Allowing offensive rebounding, and the subsequent second-chance opportunities, was a sore spot for the Boomers against Senegal. The twin towers of Memphis Grizzlies big man Jonas Valanciunas and the Indiana Pacers’ Domantas Sabonis have been bulwarks in this tournament, bludgeoning their opponents on the glass. They would be an imposing frontline.
Lithuania averaged a staggering 15 o-boards (and 16 second-chance points) over their first two matches. A point of emphasis had to be to keep the likes of Valanciunas and Sabonis from beasting the offensive glass. In an amped up Aron Baynes, they met their beefy match, the Boomers centre barging his way to every defensive rebound available, setting the tone on the glass, particularly with Andrew Bogut plagued by foul trouble.