Australia are locked in an arm-wrestle with France at the FIBA World Cup as very little separates the teams in their second round match up.
It’s 46-all at half-time with the score trading hands throughout the half.
But France looked to get away when they took a nine-point lead in the third quarter, until Joe Ingles and Patty Mills hit back-to-back three-pointers to bring the score back within striking distance.
At three-quarter time, France lead 75-71.
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Both teams are 4-0 in the tournament and are through to the quarterfinals of the tournament but this match is almost more important that any others with the loser set to face the Team USA in their next match as the competition shifts to the elimination matches.
The winner will face the Czech Republic and be on the opposite side of the draw to the all conquering US until the final.
While France looked to kick away in the first quarter, Australia held strong with Joe Ingles dropping two huge bombs to keep Australia close.
A 24-23 scoreline to France showed it will be a tight match up between the teams, as they could barely be split.
Fox Sports commentator and Boomers legend Shane Heal said Ingles needs to get more involved.
“He is a freak, have a look at him,” Heal said as Ingles sank a second straight three-pointer. “He only took four field goal attempts in the last game, that’s just not enough, he’s just got too much class.”
The match was one of the most anticipated matches of the tournament with Utah Jazz teammates Joe Ingles and Rudy Gobert also chasing international bragging rights.
The pair have been jawing at each other throughout the tournament with both among the most influential players at the Basketball World Cup in China so far.
Patty Mills is again leading the way for the Boomers.Source:AFP
Ingles entered the game with an 8.5 point, 6.8 rebound and 7.3 assist average in the tournament so far, along with just missing out on the first World Cup triple-double in the tournament’s history.
NBA defensive player of the year Gobert leads the tournament with nine blocked shots and has averaged almost 12 points per game.
But Gobert was kept scoreless until a foul with 5.5 seconds left in the first half as Charlotte Hornets pair Nicolas Batum and Evan Fournier took over with 11 and 13 points respectively.
Patty Mills’ 13 points and Ingles 10 lead the Boomers.
There is plenty of belief Australia can do it however.
Let’s get it BOOMERS #FIBAWC2019
Let’s go Boomers!! ? ? ??
When the @BasketballAus Boomers are 7/14 from 3⃣#GoBoomers #FIBAWC pic.twitter.com/3dbD4DXtCY
Aussie Ingles is renowned for his in-game banter and dry sense of humour and centre Gobert is enjoying being on the other side of the equation.
“A little bit, little bit, we’ve chatted a few times … that’s Joe, I know him,” Gobert told AAP with a grin before the game.
The Boomers have never moved past the quarter-final stage of a World Cup, with their fifth-place finish coming 37 years ago in a 13-team field in Colombia.
Their unbeaten run has come without as many as five unavailable NBA players, including superstar Ben Simmons, and they insist the ceiling remains high.
It’s come as no surprise to Gobert, who is well aware of what Ingles, Bogut, Patty Mills, Matthew Dellavedova and Aron Baynes have built during their time in green and gold.
“They’re physical, got experience, play well together and we know it’s going to be a fight and that’s what we like,” Gobert said.
“But we have the confidence, believe in ourselves, know what to do.”
46-all at halftime — prepare for a thriller.Source:AFP
Their Turkey-based guard Nando de Colo has also averaged 14.5 points per game in China in a nod to their depth.
“They’re a match up we’re looking forward to,” Boomers coach Andrej Lemanis said of France.
“They’re long, athletic, they’re good defensively, they execute offensively very well (and are) well-drilled, well coached.
“In many ways, we see them playing a lot like ourselves in the way they share the ball and hang their hat on the defensive end.”
— with AAP
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