Scouting Australia vs. Spain (Basketball)

San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills and Australia began their Olympic journey 0-1 as they fell to Tiago Splitter and Brazil on Sunday. Mills and Spurs assistant coach Brett Brown will be looking to earn their PMfirst win, but the opponent they’re matching up with might be just as good or better than Brazil.

The Aussies will be facing 2008 Silver medalist Spain, who defeated China on Sunday by 16-points led by Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol, Oklahoma City Thunder center Serge Ibaka, and a slew of other NBA-level players. Will Mills and the Aussies earn their first win, or will the Spanish be too strong? Here’s a preview of Tuesday’s game.

Positional Matchups

Point guards

Australia (AUS): Patty Mills, Adam Gibson

Spain (ESP): Jose Calderon, Sergio Rodriguez

Advantage: AUS – Mills led Australia in scoring in their loss to Brazil. Though he struggled shooting the ball, he did show that his speed could be a major factor to making Spain have to play at Australia’s pace.

Shooting guards

AUS: Matt Dellavedova, Peter Crawford

ESP: Juan Carlos-Navarro, Sergio Llull, Victor Sada, Fernando San Emerterio

Advantage: ESP

Small Forwards

AUS: Joe Ingles, Brad Newley

ESP: Rudy Fernandez

Advantage: Even

Power Forwards

AUS: Matt Nielsen, David Barlow, Mark Worthington

ESP: Pau Gasol, Victor Claver, Felipe ReyesPG

Advantage: ESP

Centers

AUS: David Anderson, Aron Baynes, Aleks Maric

ESP: Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka

Advantage: ESP

Perimeter and Frontcourt Matchups

Perimeter Advantage: AUS – When the two teams recently played each other twice in exhibition play, Mills and Ingles were able to carry the offensive load for Australia against Spain. Mills’ speed could be tough for Calderon and Carlos-Navarro to match, while Fernandez will have to stay out of foul trouble when defending Ingles. The key of Australia’s perimeter will be to play in a run-and-gun mode, they want to force Spain to play up-tempo as opposed to halfcourt.

Frontcourt Advantage: ESP – Though Baynes and Anderson had pretty good performances against Brazil, the big men of Spain are another monster. Both Gasol brothers can post, shoot from 15-17 feet, or draw fouls. Ibaka can make an impact on the game as well mainly with his defense, but he can also finish with a dunk or hit a 15-foot jumper as the Spurs learned in the Western Conference Finals against the Thunder this past season.

Prediction: Spain defeats Australia by eight points or less.

Paul Garcia

About Paul Garcia

Paul is a San Antonio Spurs credentialed media member for Project Spurs. He covered the 2013 NBA All-Star Game in Houston, TX and the 2013 NBA Finals.

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