Australia slays Canada in Fiba World Cup 'group of death' | Inquirer Sports

Australia slays Canada in Fiba World Cup ‘group of death’

/ 07:03 PM September 01, 2019

Matthew Dellavedova Australia Fiba World Cup

Australia’s Matthew Dellavedova (L) dribbles the ball during the Basketball World Cup Group H game between Canada and Australia in Dongguan on September 1, 2019. (Photo by Ye Aung Thu / AFP)

Australia drew first blood in the so-called “Group of Death” at the Basketball World Cup with a 108-92 victory over Canada on Sunday in China.

Cleveland Cavaliers’ Matthew Dellavedova was key for the Boomers, leading them with 24 points after Canada had battled back from a 12-point half-time deficit to lead going into the fourth quarter.


Andrej Lemanis, Australia’s coach, called victory in their opener “a big one for us”.


“It was good to be tested in a game that matters and find a way to hold our nerve, get back together, start playing some good basketball and work our way to what ended up being a good, solid win.”

Along with Serbia, Greece, Spain and France, Australia have been mentioned as a threat to America’s long dominance, but they will need to defy history — the Boomers have never gone beyond the quarter-finals in 11 previous World Cup appearances.

With reigning two-time champions the United States playing later in the day, Australia — who showcased their title credentials by stunning the Americans in a pre-tournament warm-up — and Canada took centre stage in the 32-team competition.

Australia began their title bid in the southern Chinese city of Dongguan against a Canada side led by NBA champion coach Nick Nurse but missing many of their biggest names.

In a highly competitive Group H also containing Lithuania and Senegal, Australia led 52-40 at half-time with Joe Ingles of NBA team the Utah Jazz scoring 10 points and registering three assists against Canada’s slack defence. He finished with a match-leading 10 assists.

Veteran Andrew Bogut had been a doubt going into the clash with Nurse’s men, but Australia’s star center played and had nine rebounds.


Canada came out for the third period with serious intent, racking up nine unanswered points to rattle the stunned Australians and claw the match back.

The lead changed hands several times but Canada miraculously went into the decisive fourth stanza 77-76 ahead.

Yet Nurse admitted they ran out of juice and a relentless Australia finally pulled away in the decisive fourth quarter.

Nurse, who guided the Toronto Raptors to the NBA crown, said that Tuesday’s showdown with Lithuania was now a must-win.

“The start wasn’t very good and the end wasn’t very good. The middle was excellent,” he said.

“We had some extraordinary moments tonight but we just need to stretch them out a bit.”

An experimental United States, who are missing major names such as LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry, begin their title defence against the Czech Republic in Shanghai later on Sunday.

In the same group, Turkey — prime challengers to the USA in the first round — defeated Japan 86-67.

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In other matches, Brazil beat New Zealand 102-94 in another high-scoring contest. Dominican Republic squeezed out Jordan 80-76.

TAGS: 2019 Fiba World Cup, Australia, Basketball, Canada, Fiba World Cup, Matthew Dellavedova

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