Boomers eyeing medal after unbeaten run

Patty Mills has scored a game-high 24 points to lead Australia to victory over Germany in Tokyo.
Patty Mills has scored a game-high 24 points to lead Australia to victory over Germany in Tokyo.

Three down, three to go ... the Boomers are halfway to what they hope is a first Olympic medal, preferably a gold one.

Australia took care of their first matter of business on Saturday night, completing a perfect preliminary phase with an 89-76 win over Germany powered by a masterful 24-point haul from flag-bearer Patty Mills.

They will head into the quarter-finals with a favourable seeding, and should avoid the likes of powerhouses France, Spain and the US in the last eight.

But these Boomers fear no-one, and not even the loss of centre Aron Baynes to injury has altered their thinking, with Nick Kay stepping in to a starting role with aplomb as he poured in 16 points on seven of ten shooting.

"We are coming into it like we want to win six games and win a gold, so that was important for us," Kay said of securing top spot in the group.

"Obviously seeding and position for the next game is a big factor, so we came out and played well together.

"We want that gold, so it doesn't matter who we come up against (in the quarter-finals). You've got to beat the best teams to get that."

The loss of Baynes to a neck injury was thought to be a major impediment to the Aussies mounting a serious medal charge.

And while Germany's dominance of the rebound count will cause some alarm, Kay and Jock Landale - who was immense with 18 points on seven for ten shooting - showed the Boomers have more than enough tall timber to trouble any team.

The Boomers however will only go as far as Mills takes them.

The German coach admitted his side's only hope was for the likes of Mills to have an off night, and when he started 0-4 from the field, it looked like his prayers might have been answered.

But Mills has a shooter's mentality, and shooters do not have a conscience when it comes to misses.

So Mills kept putting them up, and eventually they started dropping.

After trailing at the first break, Mills' second three of the night gave the Boomers the lead midway through the second quarter. A deep bomb early in the third period - which ended up being a four-point play - gave Australia a 50-40 lead.

"We know what he brings to our team. Obviously he's our guy, there's no hiding that or trying to beat around the bush with it," teammate Joe Ingles said.

"If we need a bucket or we need a play, we know where we're going, and teams probably know where we're going, too, but he's hard to guard."

Germany extinguished Australia's third quarter lead with a 10-0 run of their own, but the Boomers again put a gap on their opponents to take a seven-point lead into the final term

"Going into this game, I felt we had to be almost perfect," Germany coach Henrik Roedl said.

"They are a very, very good team, and I was hoping maybe their stars would get a little tired, but they did not."

Australian Associated Press