San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills and Australia (3-2) are on a 3-game winning streak in Olympic play after losing their first two games to Brazil and Spain, as they prepare for the Quarterfinals on Wednesday.
Unfortunately for the Boomers, they will be facing the juggernaut of teams, the United States of America (5-0), who are coming in undefeated right now.
It’s going to be a long shot for Mills and the Aussies to pull an incredible upset, but without further ado, here’s the scouting report of Australia and the U.S.
Game Time: 2:15 PM CST
117.8 Points per game 82 PPG
79.6 Opponent points per game 74.6 OPG
45.8% 3PT 32.3% 3PT
44.4 Rebounds per gamr 41.2 RPG
27.6 Assists per game 17.4 APG
9.4 Turnovers per game 12.2 TPG
11.6 Steals per game 7.4 SPG
2.6 Blocks per game 2.4 BPG
21 Fouls per game 21.4 FPG
Australia: Patty Mills (20.6 PPG, 33% 3PT), Joe Ingles (14.2 PPG), David Andersen (12.2 PPG, 40% 3PT), Matthew Dellavedova (8.2 PPG, 4.6 APG, 41% 3PT), Aron Baynes (8.2 PPG)
United States: Kevin Durant (18.6 PPG, 61% 3PT), LeBron James (11.6 PPG, 4.4 APG), Kobe Bryant (9.4 PPG), Carmelo Anthony (17.4 PPG, 60% 3PT), Chris Paul (7.6 PPG, 5.8 ASG, 47% 3PT)
Point guard Battle
On one side, you have Paul who has been considered an MVP candidate several times in the NBA. On the other, you have Dellavedova who is still playing college basketball. But don’t let Dellavedova’s youthfulness full you. The kid can play. Whether he’s running the fast break and feeding his teammates, launching a 3-pointer to keep his team in the game, or throwing an alley-oop up to Baynes for a dunk, Dellavedova is very productive. What will be interesting to see is how he plays against Paul when Paul increases his defense like he did Monday against youngster Facundo Campazzo of Argentina.
The problem for Australia, and with any team that faces the United State sis that Paul has Deron Williams and Russell Westbrook coming in to back him up.
Shooting guard Battle
The U.S. knows Mills is Australia’s most prolific scorer, so they’ll probably put different players to defend Mills throughout the game to limit Mills’ production. Bryant will probably defend Mills to start, but don’t be surprised if you see James, Westbrook, and Durant defend Mills at certain times. Bryant on the other hand, likes to put mismatches in the post on offense, and that’ exactly what Mills is to him, a mismatch. Don’t be surprised if you see Bryant posting Mills, then a double-team comes to help, and Durant receives an open 3-pointer.
Small forward Battle
This is an interesting matchup. You have Ingles being defended and having to defend James, Durant, and Anthony. If James, Durant, and Anthony are aggressive, then Ingles will have to waste most of his energy on defense. However, if James and Anthony just camp out on the perimeter and shoot 3-pointers all game, then Ingles will be able to try to score offensively for numerous possessions.
Power forward Battle
Andersen is a guy who shoots from the outside but also likes to post and shoot fade away jumpers. Durant and James will get their chance to limit Andersen, but it’s Andersen who will have the toughest time having to chase Durant and James around the perimeter.
There’s a good matchup between Baynes and Chandler, but when Chandler goes to the bench and the U.S. plays small ball, Baynes is going to have a tough time matching their speed.
Aside from Brad Newley, Matt Nielsen, Mark Worthington, and Aleks Maric, Australia doesn’t really have a deep bench that makes an impact. The U.S. has a ton of options to go to with Anthony, Kevin Love, Andre Iguodala, James Harden, Westbrook and Williams.
What does Australia need to do to keep it close?
On offense, the Aussies have to slow down the tempo and play half court basketball. Unfortunately, the Aussies struggle in the half court as Ingles and Andersen are their two main options. Mills and Delledova are at their best in the open court, but if they push the pace it’ll only help the U.S. who want to get up and down the court. Australia must also shoot a high percentage from 3-point range, though I’m not sure how that will happen if they cannot penetrate.
On defense, Australia must close the paint as much as possible so no penetration to outside shots occur, and Australia must do their best to make the U.S. play one-one-one basketball. When the U.S. struggles to pass the ball and are forced to play one-on-one, it slows the pace of the game down.
After analyzing the matchups, I just don’t see the Aussies as a real threat to have a chance against the U.S. Wednesday. They may hang with them for one quarter, but I expect the Unites States to win this one relatively easy by 28 points or more.