Boomers storm home over China in London

Boomers storm home over China in London

The Australian Boomers have played the very first game of international basketball housed in the newly built London Basketball Arena in Olympic Park, trouncing the Chinese national team in the opening game of the London International Basketball Invitational, 71-43.

Boomers forward Peter Crawford top-scored for the side with 15 points, while David Barlow added 14 points and AJ Ogilvy finished with 11 points. 

Despite fielding one of the more competitive teams that China has put on the floor in some time, the Chinese side seemed out of sorts early as the Boomers set about breaking out to an early lead in the second quarter, stretching it to 32-19 at the half.

The Boomers outscored China 15-5 in the second period to take control of the contest. 

Expecting China to counter early in the second half, the Boomers stayed on the offensive, putting the game beyond doubt heading into the fourth quarter, leading by as many as 30 points with under four minutes to play, ultimately running away with the big 28-point win. 

Australia dominated the glass, out-rebounding China by 43-26. China was untidy from the field, shooting a low 31 per cent from the floor, while the Aussies connected on almost 47 per cent of attempts, led by the three main scorers in Crawford, Barlow and Ogilvy. With almost 13 more looks at the basket, China were always going to be up against it.

The Boomers did not suit up Aleks Maric, with the coaching staff also resting Brad Newley and Joe Ingles. With the game in control from the outset, star playmaker Patty Mills also took no part in the game. 

“I’m trying to avoid playing our key players in three consecutive games. I’m trying to have those guys peak both on the court and physically in the build-up to September 7 and the New Zealand series, so it’s a little bit of a trick trying to balance that out with seven games in 11 days,” said Boomers head coach Brett Brown. 

“I thought that it was as good an effort defensively that we’ve played. The guards were excellent, particularly on the rebounding,” he said. 

“We have a real test tomorrow with Tony Parker and France. I’m going to rest Damian Martin and Mark Worthington. We have 14 people here, which enables us to come with a rotation plan,” he said. 

“It’s just fantastic to be able to play this level of talent. We get France, Croatia, Serbia and Great Britain coming up, and then we end up going to Spain against the perennial medalists, playing two games in Spain — it doesn’t get any better,” he said. 

According to Brown, the team is excited by what lies ahead of them at the official Olympic test event, and with the team already in great shape and performing well, the next period is about ensuring that they peak physically before they take on New Zealand in the FIBA Oceania Championship, the three-game series which tips off in Melbourne on September 7, with a ticket to London 2012 up for grabs. 

“Everybody’s coming in in good shape — you need that fitness base. You can’t get people in game shape on a tour of seven games in 11 days,” he said.

“We have a fantastic support staff so as long as they arrive in great shape, it’s on us to maintain that and keep them physically ready.

“That’s probably going to be the greatest mission over the next nine days: just making sure we build towards September 7. We have to be smart with it and you can’t take your eye off the ball. You want to win games and you can’t fall into that trap of being complacent. It’s a long process and we’ve got to be smart, and in doing that, you simply can’t overlook that physical side,” he said.

Australian Boomers 71 (Crawford 15, Barlow 14) def China 43 (Zhang 13, Yi 7)

Box Score