So proud to be an Aussie and especially a Boomer!! Love playing with these guys and for my country!— Joe Ingles (@Joeingles7) August 4, 2012
Patty Mills has brought an inspired finish to Australia's pool play in the the Men's tournament, with two exciting performances against Russia and host nation Great Britain. In the Boomers' fourth game of the pool round, Mills put up a tournament-high 39 points, followed by a buzzer-beating game winning three-pointer against Russia.
The Boomers had a tough start to the London Olympics, with a tight loss to Brazil, followed by an expected defeat at the hands of powerhouse Spain. This put Australia in a tight position, requiring them to win the rest of the way to ensure a berth in the elimination rounds.
Head coach Brett Brown's charges made good on their potential by drubbing China, before facing Team GB. The game did not start out positively for Australia, as they were down by 15 points in the third quarter after a torrid first half. Amazingly, the visitors parlayed that terrible start into a 31 point victory, behind Mills' 39 points and a 70-29 second half.
Mills shot 5/7 from deep during the game and 64% from the field in total. The Boomers managed to hold British star Luol Deng to 9 points on 3/15 shooting in the game.
Heading into the Russia match, both teams had already sewn up their tickets to the next round, but at this stage momentum is all-important. Russia were fresh off an upset victory of pool favorites Spain and looked to extend their unbeaten streak to five.
The game was a tight one, with both teams staying in sniffing distance the whole way, setting up a dramatic fourth quarter finish. With four seconds to go and Russia up by one point, Brown drew up a play for Australia on the out-of-bounds play. The set was run to perfection, as Mills received the ball at the top of the key to drill a buzzer-beating three pointer, giving the Boomers a one point victory.
Mills finished the game with 13 points. Whilst his shooting percentage was unimpressive, he made the shot when it counted for Australia, showing his big game mentality. He will have to bring that same persona into Australia's first elimination game in the crossover against Team USA on Wednesday.
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