Boomers caught ‘sleeping’ as World Cup hopes hang in balance

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The Australian Boomers will be playing for their FIBA World Cup lives after losing to Germany in Okinawa on Sunday night.

The 85-82 loss sees Australia at 1-1 going into their final group game against Japan on Tuesday night. They are expected to win, but simply must get the result to progress to the crossover rounds.

If Finland beats Japan on Sunday night and upsets Germany on Tuesday night, it would see Finland, Germany and the Boomers potentially tied on a 2-1 record and require tie-breakers to be used as only the top two sides go onto the crossovers. Japan have struggled without NBA forward Rui Hachimura.

While the Boomers were fuming about no foul being called on Josh Giddey’s last-second half-court shot, they made a number of uncharacteristic errors late which hurt them against an excellent German side who played without NBA forward Franz Wagner who sat out with an ankle injury.

German NBA guard Dennis Schroder led all scorers with 30 points and eight assists while guard Maodo Lo contributed an invaluable 20 points.

Patty Mills battles German centre Johannes Voigtmann.Credit: AP

Patty Mills scored 17 of his 21 points in the first half while Giddey recovered from a slow start to finish with 17.

Boomers coach Brian Goorjian called out some of his starting five for allowing Germany to take an early lead. He called time out and gave the team a rare spray.

“I thought in the first four or five minutes of the game we had two or three guys on the court sleeping,” Goorjian said.

“I just needed that time out to use my voice. That’s really the only time I go off. It’s very rare.

“It might be the first time since I’ve had this group.”

Goorjian declined to speak in too much depth about the referee decisions but admitted he was frustrated he had to use his coach’s review early in the game.

“We had a couple of out-of-bounds calls under the basket – it was clear but I had to use my deal [review] but I can’t get into that tonight,” Goorjian said.

“I said some things were out of our control. It was close. I was disappointed there.”

Germany led 83-82 with 30 seconds remaining but Schroder threw a pass out of bounds giving the Boomers the last play.

Giddey was forced to the bench due to the blood rule with a cut on his forearm and that left Mills to take the ball. The veteran drove towards the basket but slipped over at the key moment, losing the ball with 4.7 seconds to go.

Jack White contests a rebound with Germany’s Moritz Wagner.Credit: Getty Images

The Boomers failed to foul Lo and he scored a lay-up with a second left, leaving Giddey’s half-court heave to miss the mark.

Goorjian wanted a foul called as Giddey did appear to receive some contact, but the referees said the game was over.

With German legend Dirk Nowitzki sitting courtside, Germany bolted out of the blocks early, scoring the first eight points as the Boomers struggled at both ends of the court.

Mills sensed the need to lift and opened the scoring but Isaac Bonga, Mo Wagner and others continued scoring as their lead to 16-5 before a furious Goorjian called timeout and tore into his starters.

“We are playing for our lives,” Goorjian told his players.

Dante Exum grabs a rebound for the Boomers.Credit: Getty Images

Mills must have taken those words to heart as he blazed away, scoring the team’s first 13 points topped off by a long three-pointer that closed the margin to three.

Joe Ingles and Dante Exum’s arrival off the bench made a difference as Ingles scored four quick points and Josh Green made a late three-pointer to see the Boomers lead 25-24 at quarter-time.

Xavier Cooks had a dunk and a steal early in the second term but Germany regained their composure, with Schroder firing away from inside and out as his side took a 36-30 lead.

The Boomers couldn’t regain the lead with Matisse Thybulle fouling Schroder as he let a three-point shot go in the final seconds. He made all three free throws to put his nation up 49-44 at half-time with Schroder on 17 points and Mills 15.

That pair exchanged threes early in the third quarter while Boomers centre Duop Reath showed NBA scouts why he can play at the top level, nailing two three-pointers and throwing down a put-back dunk.

Josh Giddey dunks.Credit: Getty Images

Mills fed Josh Giddey for a fast-break dunk and the lead but Schroder kept attacking and took his tally past 20.

Exum and Ingles again made a difference late in the quarter as Australia led 66-62 going into the last term.

Germany went on an 8-0 run to start the final term as Schroder and Lo made key plays, taking a 72-66 lead with just under eight minutes to go.

Mills found Giddey for a dunk to cut the German lead to 74-71 with five minutes to play before Giddey tied the game at 81-81 with 90 seconds left.

The Boomers play Japan on Tuesday at 9.10pm (AEST).

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