Even without their NBA stars Australia battered Canada 87-47, a record margin in a men's Commonwealth Games medal clash
Gold Coast (Australia) (AFP) - Australia’s supporting cast stepped up to capture Commonwealth Games basketball gold on Sunday as the “Boomers” battered sorry Canada 87-47 in a lopsided men’s final.
The hosts won the title without the likes of regular starters Ben Simmons, Joe Ingles, Matthew Dellavedova and Patty Mills, who were absent due to their NBA commitments.
“The depth of Australian basketball is really solid,” Boomers coach Andrej Lemanis told reporters.
“When these guys get the opportunity to play in the green and gold they are inspirational the way they go about their business.”
Canada, who were also missing their NBA contingent and selected a squad made up of college players, couldn’t buy a basket as they crashed by a record margin in a men’s Commonwealth Games medal clash.
“Playing Australia in Australia in a meaningful international game is a priceless experience for these young guys,” said Canada coach Kirby Schepp, trying to put a positive spin on the result.
The Aussies, who were pipped by former world champions Spain in the bronze medal game at the 2016 Rio Olympics, finished unbeaten on the Gold Coast.
They also won gold the only previous time basketball was played at the Commonwealth Games, in Melbourne in 2006.
Australia’s NBA players are expected to be available for next year’s world championships in China and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
But Boomers coach Lemanis paid tribute to his second-stringers after their gold medal performance.
“They all put their hands up and said ‘if you need us we are in and if you don’t need us, no problems’ – this is the reality of the new environment,” he said.
New Zealand, stunned by a buzzer beater in their semi-final defeat by Canada, survived a spirit fightback from Scotland to win the bronze medal playoff 79-69.
“I thought it was always going to be tough for our guys to bounce back from that game psychologically yesterday,” said Kiwi coach Paul Henare.
“I knew it was going to be a grind and I knew Scotland were playing for history in their basketball history as well so that’s always tough to go up against.”