Phillin' the lane: Andersen and Mills shine in Turkey

Phillin' the lane: Andersen and Mills shine in Turkey

The Golden Star Boomers have opened the World Championships and showed the world what they themselves already knew; the depth of this team will cause a tonne of problems for their opponents.

Australia has gotten steady production from nearly everyone on the team in its first three games with each game producing a different hero who has stepped up at various points.

Not only do the Boomers have good players, but they have chemistry and play incredibly well together which can sometimes be problematic when you throw 12 talented players on one team.

The hardest part for these players is how to deal with the fact that they are not necessarily the main guy like they may be in their regular season clubs.

NBL standouts Mark Worthington and Damien Martin are perfect examples of the selfless attitude that is represented on this team.

These two players are used to seeing close to 30 minutes per game on their NBL teams, however with the depth of this team, they are relegate to role-players; and they, along with the rest of the Boomers bench, has come up clutch in each of the games.

Australia is currently two-and-one and is in third place on the Group A ladder behind Argentina (3-0) and Serbia (2-1) with two matches to go.

While each player on the roster has found a way to contribute to their success so far, Patty Mills and David Andersen have shown why they made it to the NBA.

Theses two players have been instrumental in each of the three contests.

Mills is averaging 15.7 points and 4.3 assists while shooting an impressive 42.1 per cent (8-19) from behind the arc.

Andersen has also shot the ball well from three-point range going 4-for-10, but he has dominated in the paint as well averaging 12.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 2.0 assists.

Also having a standout tournament are Matt Nielsen (8.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, and shooting 55.6 per cent from the field) and Joe Ingles (11.7 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and shooting a blistering 75 per cent from two point range).

The Boomers opened up the World Championships against Jordan, narrowly escaping the contest 76-75, dodging Jordan’s final few punches when the ball just wouldn’t fall for them.

After sweeping their three contests in Lyon, France, everyone expected this team to get off to a fast start, however, whether it was nerves or taking the 38th ranked Jordanians for granted, the Boomers struggled.

Against Argentina, the Boomers came out with something to prove.

Although they had beaten this team in Australia a few months earlier, it was without Argentina’s NBA trio, and the Huston Rocket’s Louis Scola proved to be the difference.

Scola scored a game-high 31 points and was the catalyst in Argentina’s late-game comeback.

Australia had led for the entire game until the fourth quarter, when they went ice cold from the field and slowly let their single-digit lead slip away.

With three seconds left on the clock and down 74-72 Adam Gibson had an open three-point look from the corner, but the ball rimmed out as the buzzer sounded.

What also hurt Australia in this game was its lack of offensive productivity in the paint.

After registering 22 points against Jordan, Aleks Maric was scoreless against the Argentineans and missed a few easy layups in the contest that could have changed the momentum.

For Maric, this carried over into the game against Germany and he didn’t look like himself until halfway through the third quarter when shots started to finally fall for him.

Both Argentina and Germany looked to frustrate Maric, and in some cases he had legitimate complaints on some calls.

It seems that the refs, in all of the contests, have let a lot go in the first half just to call it in the second where one call can change the outcome of the game.

Bad calls or not, Maric needs to stay productive for Australia to advance. He is a strong, athletic centre who by bruising around down in the post can open up outside looks for the shooters who have been draining seemingly every shot they take.

Against Germany, the Boomers scored 36 of their 78 points form behind the arc where they were 12 of 26, propelling them to the 78-43 massacre.

Overall the Boomers are shooting 46.9 per cent (86-183) from the field which is incredible for the level of competition that they are facing.

Along with shooting the ball efficiently, they have played solid defense in each contest, none better then against the seventh ranked Germans.

The Aussies were all over the court, and after tying it at 2-2 never looked back.

During the three games they have forced 44 turnovers and have stolen the ball away from opponents 11 times.

If they continue to play this solidly on the defensive end and they continue their hot shooting it will be extremely tough to beat them.

After an off day on August 31, the Boomers return to action against Serbia in a crucial matchup for the second position on the ladder on September 1 and finish pool play the following night against Angola.

WNBA UPDATES
Lauren Jackson (2-0) averaged 20.5 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 2.5 steals, and 2.0 blocks in Seattle’s two victories over the Los Angeles Sparks to move into the Conference Championship against Penny Taylor and the Phoenix Mercury.
Taylor (2-0) averaged 16.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 9.5 assists, and 2.0 steals in the Mercury’s two-game sweep.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
•    Boomers start off two and one in Turkey
•    Jackson and Taylor both lead their teams into the Conference Finals

WHAT TO WATCH FOR THIS WEEK
•    How will the Boomers end Pool Play and who from Group B will they get matched up against if they make it through?
•    Jackson and Taylor go head to head where they will clash for the right to advance to the WNBA Championship
•    Tully Bevilaqua and the Indiana Fever have a crucial Game Three against the NY Liberty.