Full Strength Australian Boomers Sink Tall Blacks

A full-strength Australian Boomers side proved too good for the New Zealand Tall Blacks, winning Game 1 of the FIBA Oceania Championships 70-59 in Auckland on Wednesday night.

San Antonio Spur Patty Mills led Australia with 20 points as the Boomers overcame a halftime deficit to claim the first of the two-game series.

Mills also contributed five rebounds and four steals in what was a high intensity game despite both nations having already qualified for next year’s FIBA World Cup.

Poor shooting by the visitors enabled the Tall Blacks to take a slim seven-point margin into the halftime break until Mills helped Australia to a 7-0 third quarter run, propelling the Boomers to a one-basket lead heading into the final quarter.

Just two made field goals over the final 10 minutes ruined New Zealand’s chance of an upset.

“The last quarter, we really dropped our performance,” Tall Blacks coach Nenad Vucinic said post-match.

“Whether there were valid excuses or not, it’s for us to analyse before the second game.”

Mills has experienced a lot of success in the Australian green and gold and new Boomers coach Andrej Lemanis was pleased with NBA guard’s effort.

“The thing I really enjoyed about it was that he’s into the defence,” Lemanis said of Mills.

“He’s prepared to work the ball up the floor and generate some stuff with his defence as well as his offence.”

London Olympic veterans Joe Ingles (six points, eight rebounds) and David Andersen (12 points, seven rebounds) both played important roles while NBA hopeful Matthew Dellavedova chipped in 11 points.

NBA bound youngster Dante Exum played just five minutes despite a continuous rise up NBA draft boards. 

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