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 first 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.
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.
AUS: Matt Dellavedova, Peter Crawford
ESP: Juan Carlos-Navarro, Sergio Llull, Victor Sada, Fernando San Emerterio
AUS: Joe Ingles, Brad Newley
ESP: Rudy Fernandez
AUS: Matt Nielsen, David Barlow, Mark Worthington
ESP: Pau Gasol, Victor Claver, Felipe Reyes
AUS: David Anderson, Aron Baynes, Aleks Maric
ESP: Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka
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.