Liveblog: Australia vs. Argentina

Andrew Bogut and his Boomers looked to pick up their first win in Olympic competition on Tuesday, squaring off against Manu Ginobili and the Argentinians. Argentina was hoping to bounce back with a win after losing a tough one in their opener against Lithuania, while Australia aimed to right their ship after an opening day beating by Croatia.  However, the defending Olympic Champs were just too much as Argentina cruised to an 85-68 victory.  After the jump we've got a blow-by-blow analysis of the action.

1st Quarter

  • As was the case prior to the first game, the fans in Beijing greet Andrew Bogut warmly when the starting lineups are introduced.
  • Early on Bogut is a little slow to rotate and a wide-open Fabricio Oberto banks one through.
  •  For the first few offensive possessions Bogut is camping out at the three-point line.
  • Luis Scola slips behind the Aussie defense and beats Bogut to the basket for a layup. Bogut is whistled for a ticky-tac foul.
  •  I'm not sure if it's Australia coach Brian Goorjian's defensive philosophy to bring everyone back to prevent transition opportunities, but very few Aussies seem to be crashing the offensive boards after a missed shot.
  • Bogut just doesn't have the foot speed to get out and challenge these perimeter shooting big men as Scola drains another one. We saw the same thing against Croatia, as their big men were able to step out and drill uncontested jumpers without much opposition from Bogut.
  • During a timeout, the Aussie coach implores his team to step it up defensively. "We've got to rotate on the ball, we've got to talk, we've got to get there!"
  • Australia is running all of their post up forward Matt Nielson early on.
  • Bogut loses Oberto, who slips through the defense for an uncontested lay-up.
  • Bogut's first touch is on a deep post up. He turns, spins and misses with his left hand. Defended well by Oberto.
  • Bogut takes a seat with 4 minutes left to play in the first. Argentina thoroughly outplaying Australia, up 18-3 with three minutes left in the quarter. The due of Scola and Oberto are really doing a number on the Boomer frontcourt.
  • Luis Scola drills Aussie forward Mark Worthington with an elbow to the side of the head, and nothing is called. Worthington goes down in a heap and furiously questions the referee, "You didn't f**kin see that?!"
  • Argentina up 23-5. Really playing inspired basketball. Ball movement is very crisp and their defense isn't allowing for Australia to get many good looks.
  • Off a missed Argentina three Patrick mills races down the court and drops it off to Brad Newley for an easy lay-up. Argentina up 23-9.
  • Wide bodied Argentinean backup center Roman Gonzalez looks like he could either be a professional wrestler from the 80's or a hated villain from an old western film. Either way he looks like he's from a different era.
  • Speaking of wrestling, this the second time I've seen Australian forward Mark Worthington dive on someone and actually pin them to the ground in an attempt to grab a loose ball. He did it against Lebron James in an exhibition and again today lunged on top of point guard Pablo Prigoni. Somehow it's Boomer basketball.
  • Patrick Mills needs to work on his jumper. His first three attempts are all well short.
  • Carlos Delfino air-balls a three and Patty mills hits two free throws to make it 23-11 after one quarter. The Aussies are 0-5 from downtown at the end of one and just 3-15 from the field. The Argentineans are shooting 9-17

2nd Quarter

  • Oberto kicks off the quarter with an "And one", and Carlos Delfino sticks a three. Argentina up 29-11.
  • Finally a perimeter shot goes down fro the Aussies. Glen Saville drains a three right in Delfino's eye to make it 29-16, Argentina.
  • Scola comes right back with a devastating follow up slam.
  • Bogut back in the game with six minutes left to go in the second. Goorjian is bringing the entire starting five back in using wholesale hockey-like lineup. Not sure I agree with the decision, as this was the unit that let Argentina get off to a 23-5 lead early on.
  • Bogut catches the ball deep, has it knocked out of his hands by Andreas Nocioni, picks it back up and finally scores underneath the basket. 31-20 Argentina.
  • Bogut misses a left-handed hook and Nocioni comes back to stroke a three. Argentina leads by 14. As was the case against Croatia, the Aussies are doing a very poor job of defending the three-point line.
  • Bogut backs down Oberto to get good position down low, but bricks the ball off the front of the rim. Teammate Matt Nielsen is there for the follow.
  • Ginobili misses a three, Bogut gets the board and the Aussies are off and running. Wait a sec…Pablo Prigioni is putting his hands around his neck like he's just been chocked, so the Argentinians are awarded possession.
  • Bogut takes a charge on Ginobili and pumps his fists. Australia ball. Chants of "Ozzie Ozzie Ozzie, Oy Oy Oy" can be heard in the background.
  • Bogut looks like he's starting to feel it. He gets the rock at the three-point line, ball fakes Oberto and puts it some kind of one handed, one-legged runner. On the other end he snatches a big defensive rebound. Ten-point game, 34-24.
  • Argentina hits a couple of free throws, Scola scores on an inbounds play.
  • Bogut air balls a wide-open three, but teammate Brad Newley comes away with the rebound and drains a long two. On Australia's next offensive possession the Houston Rockets draftee drives home a lay-up making it a 10-point game heading into the half. Argentina up 39-29.
  • To be down only ten at halftime despite shooting just 11-31 has to make the Aussies feel like they have a chance here. Argentina has clearly been the better team, but the Boomers have hung tough and kept scraping.

3rd Quarter

  • Between the extra physical play and the renowned flopping ability of many of these international players, it's tough to determine what is and isn't a foul.  Bogut and Oberto are really going at each other, Bogut makes a motion like he's been shoved and Oberto is whistled for the personal. Some words are exchanged between the Australians and Argentinians and Ginobili is hammered in the face at mid court on the next possession.
  • Bogut provides some nice help defense with a block and scores on the other end.
  • A Bogut deflection and a CJ Bruton mid range jumper make it an eight-point game. Argentina leads 41-32.
  •  Scola answers back on the other end by posting up, spinning around and scoring on Andrew Bogut. Scola has some really nice footwork on the low block.
  • Manu being Manu. Gibobli drives into the teeth of the Aussie defense and scores on a reverse lay-up. Just like that it's back to a twelve-point game.
  • After reserve big man Juan Gutierrez grabs, pushes and tugs at Bogut in what had to be the most blatant moving pick of all time, Bogut sends Gutierrez's shot out of bounds on the other end. The Boomer bench is fired up.
  • Nocioni responds with a three. Again the Aussies not doing a good job defending the three-point line. That's something they really need to correct if they hope to get out of group play.
  • Odd sequence as David Andersen tried to back down Andreas Nocioni, Nocioni falls (flops) to the ground, Andersen goes up for a shot and (while still on his knees) Nocioni yanks on Andersen's arm to prevent him from scoring. Nocioni is whistled for an unsportsmanlike like foul, Andersen sinks both free throws and Australia gets the ball.
  • After another tremendous drive by Manu, Carlos Delfino calmly strokes a contested three. Argentina up 55-38.
  • At the end of the third Patty Mills explodes to the hoop for finger roll that would make 'The Professor' jealous, but Argentina leads 63-46.

4th Quarter

  • Mark Worthington gets his revenge on Scola with a forearm shiver to the chest, but unfortunately for the Aussie he is caught in the act. "I was just standing there!" exclaims Worthington.  By the way, if I'm ever Down Under and get into some kind of pub fight, I want Mark Worthington on my side. He has this aura about him that says, "Yeah, I'm not afraid to fight, mate."
  • An exhausted looking David Andersen rests his hands over his head, revealing shaved armpits. Interesting…
  • Bogut checks back into the game at the 6-minute mark and immediately miss a hook shot.
  • Delfino with another three. Argentina up 20 with 5:36 to go in the game.
  • Tremendous two-man game between Delfino and Ginobili leads to a three from Manu. Argentina up 21.
  • Argentina leaving their starters in this late in a 20 point contest may seem like they're rubbing it in the faces of the Boomers, but point differential is a big deal in this tournament and could serve as a tie-breaker, so it behooves the South Americans to keep piling it on.
  • Bogut air balls from 4 feet. Ouch.
  • Patrick Mills has a couple of great drives to the Basket, and Bogut finds a cutting Brad Newley. All of a sudden it's a 12-point game with just over two minutes left.
  • A Patrick Mills steal and lay-up cuts it to ten. Mills has been fantastic in the fourth, getting to the basket at will. He's clearly the best slasher on the Australian side, and when he drives the defensive help from the Argentineans has been non-existent.
  • Ginobili hits a three over Bogut's outstretched arms. Argentina up 77-64
  • Bogut misses another one. He sure hasn't going up with a lot of authority today. I'd like to see him try to dunk on someone.
  • With 25 seconds left and Argentina up 80-66, the Argentina fans erupt in song. Some of the players start clapping along in rhythm only to be quickly hushed by the coaching staff.
  • It's a wrap, Argentina wins 85-68.

Post-Game Analysis

  • Bogut finishes with 7 points, 4 rebounds and 3 blocks on 3-10 shooting. The Boomers shot just 2/13 from beyond the arc, and once again made life easy for their opponents by failing to consistently challenge them at three point line.
  • The Boomers frontcourt defense wasn't much better, giving up 29 points and 11 rebounds to the starting tandem of Scola and Oberto.
  • As was the case with Croatia, Bogut struggled to move his feet and defend perimeter oriented big men. His low post help defense was pretty good however, resulting in three blocked shots.
  • It may be Australia's strategy to get back on defense and prevent transition opportunities, but in my opinion it would serve the Boomers well to make more of an attempt at some "reloads" as Jonny Mac would say. It's not that they're getting beaten that bad on the offensive glass as a team, but Australia doesn't have enough else going for them to make up for not battling for an extra possession on every shot.
  • Bogut has just one offensive rebound in two games. He needs to do a better job of going after missed shots he so that can utilize his soft hands around the basket. A couple of put-back dunks or tip-ins might help give him confidence and open up the rest of his game offensively. There have been multiple possessions throughout the first two games where he hasn't been in good enough position to grab a rebound and has instead been forced to bat the ball to his teammates (volleyball style) instead of just grabbing it.
  • Offensively, Bogut just isn't a threat to shoot the ball from the perimeter and it's been a detriment for him and his team so far. When Bogut gets the ball up top he's usually been limited to holding it and trying to find cutters (who often aren't there). Other than one play where Fabio Oberto went for a head fake and got beat off the dribble ((must not have read the scouting report) Bogut's opponents have really sagged off of him, for good reason. Today against Argentina today he air-balled a wide-open three pointer.
  • The jump shot is really a great equalizer among big men in FIBA competition. Throughout the first couple days of competition I've watched traditional back to the basket centers like Yao Ming and Chris Kaman rendered ineffective due to their lack of shooting ability. Obviously those guys are extremely effective NBA big men, but FIBA is a whole different ball game. If I can put on my coaching hat for a second-Australia might be well served to utilize a little high low-two man game between Bogut and frontcourt mate David Andersen. Andersen is one of the better jump shooting big men in the world and could really free Bogut to do some work down low. If Bogut doesn't have a good look, kicking it back to Anderson for a mid-range jumper is a fine an option.
  • When Bogut does go up, he's got to hold the ball tight and go up hard. The one handed flip shots just aren't getting it done. In my opinion he's got to try to back people down and dunk on them.
  • The pressure is really on for Australia, as another loss would make it very difficult for them to advance out of the group stage. Their next game is against Iran, a team that features 7-2 NBA hopeful Hamed Ehadadi at center. Iran is considered one of the weaker teams at the Olympic, so this should be an easy in for the Aussies…but based on their play so far the Boomers shouldn't take anyone lightly.
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