Tokyo Olympics: Australia’s Boomers will challenge Slovenia in a bronze medal match

The Australian Boomers’ dream of winning an Olympic gold medal has been shattered but the team can still come away with a bronze as they prepare to face off with Slovenia.

The Aussie basketballers put everything into their semi-final match against powerhouse team USA and were leading by three points at halftime before ultimately going down 97-78.

The team were understandably crushed, having never won an Olympic medal even with stars like Patty Mills and Joe Ingles on the court.

Slovenia lost to France in their semi 90-89 and will fight for the bronze medal against the Boomers on Saturday night at 9pm AEST.

The Australian Boomers' dream of winning an Olympic gold medal has been shattered but the team can still come away with a bronze as they prepare to face off with Slovenia

The Australian Boomers’ dream of winning an Olympic gold medal has been shattered but the team can still come away with a bronze as they prepare to face off with Slovenia

The game will see the likes of Slovenian star and NBA player Luka Doncic who put away 16 points and 18 assists in the game against the French.

The Boomers had a 15 point lead over team USA with five minutes to go in the second quarter before they became unstuck at the expense of America’s Kevin Durant who put away 23 points.

Captain Mills had just 15 points on 5/14 shooting in a disappointing display from the new Brooklyn Nets point guard. 

Australia's Jock Landale (centre) reacts next to teammate Matthew Dellavedova (right) after their loss to the USA

Australia’s Jock Landale (centre) reacts next to teammate Matthew Dellavedova (right) after their loss to the USA

A 32-10 third quarter for the USA saw the Boomers trail by 19 going into the final term, with Australia unable to eat into the lead. 

The USA, who have won the last three Olympic golds, are heavy favourites to make it four-in-a-row. 

USA coach Gregg Popovich was full of praise for his former point guard Mills who he coached for nine years at the San Antonio Spurs, winning a championship together. 

Popovich hailed Mills as a ‘special’ person ahead of their showdown in the Olympic semi-finals on Thursday. 

‘I’ve said so many things about Patty Mills that his head is huge already,’ Popovich joked to reporters after he signed with the Nets Wednesday.

The Aussies put everything into their semi-final match against powerhouse team USA and were leading by three points at halftime before ultimately going down 97-78

The Aussies put everything into their semi-final match against powerhouse team USA and were leading by three points at halftime before ultimately going down 97-78

Australia led by 15 with minutes left in the first half but were ahead just three at the main break in their semi final with USA

Australia led by 15 with minutes left in the first half but were ahead just three at the main break in their semi final with USA

Crowd favourite Patty Mills reacts in disappointment during the second half of the game

Crowd favourite Patty Mills reacts in disappointment during the second half of the game

‘He’s a terrific, unique basketball player with a heart as big as this building. He loves his country; he loves his teammates. He’s their leader and off the court he’s an even better person than he is on the court. So, he’s pretty special.’

The coach for the USA admitted he was sad upon seeing the look of devastation on Mills’ face. 

‘I’m thrilled with the victory, obviously, but when I looked him in the eyes (post-game) I felt badly,’ the coach said.

‘They do have great camaraderie and history and culture and want it just as badly as any of us.

‘That was a little bit sad, but that’s what we all do, we all try to win.’ 

Saturday night’s game will be the Boomers’ fifth attempt at winning a bronze at the Olympics. 

The Boomers lost to Serbia by 26 in 2016, France by 24 in 2000, the US by 28 in 1996 and Yugoslavia by 21 in 1988.

They also coughed up a 15-point lead to lose to France in the battle for third at the 2019 World Cup.

The Boomers will now fight for bronze against Slovenia at 9pm on Saturday night in Tokyo

The Boomers will now fight for bronze against Slovenia at 9pm on Saturday night in Tokyo

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