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Old 07-12-2006, 08:45 PM   #1
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Default Australia (Bogut) beat New Zealand (Penney)

I thought adamcz and Spike (and other Milwaukee fans) might be interested in this. Bogut versus NZ.


By Piet Van Hasselt

Kiwihoops Editor

The Tall Blacks and Australian Boomers tipped off their World Championships campaigns with an ideal bruising and intense encounter in game one of the four-game Jeep International Series at Napier's Pettigrew Green Arena tonight, with the favoured Boomers barely taking out the honours in overtime, 81-79. Another chapter was added to the trans-tasman rivalry with the match resembling a heavyweight title bout with neither team able to wrest control of the match.

New Zealand led the entire way in the first half, at stages holding 10-2 and 32-25 advantages, with Australia struggling to establish their shooting from deep and inside play. The Boomers grabbed their first lead of the game at 43-41 midway through the third quarter as the Tall Blacks offence began to sputter. New Zealand were able shrug off an eight-point deficit with a flurry of late baskets and impressive defence in the final stages of the fourth quarter culminating in some magic from Mark 'Sparky' Dickel with a three-pointer with three seconds on the clock to force the overtime period. A minor controversy then occurred where it appeared that time could have been put back on the clock after the receiver on the ensuing throw-in for the Boomers, Jason Smith, was called for a travel, and the clock operator didn't stop it in immediately. However match officials judged that the action would stand and the overtime period began, but not before some objections from Tall Black Coach Tab Baldwin. Australia's improved consistency and post play were too much for the home side too handle in the five minute period, despite a pair of three-pointers from Kirk Penney. Pero Cameron had a chance to win the game outright on the buzzer, but his three-pointer rimmed out.

With a only a few weeks together for both squads, execution was always going to be a struggle, and New Zealand Coach Tab Baldwin and his Australian counterpart Brian Goorjian experimented with their lineups and plays.

"It's fantastic that we have a team so close to us where we can get great competition. I think it's good for both teams," said Goorjian.

"It wasn't pretty, we have a lot of new faces. But we went where we needed to go to win the game. And I think the upside for us, is that between the two teams is that we have an ability to get a lot better," Goorjian noted.

"I would be very disappointed if you didn't see a much better team by game four," said Goorjian. Baldwin agreed with this statement later on, "If you look at the upside potential of his team, it's dramatically big. They could get 500 per cent better than they are right now."

Both sides dismissed that the result was not a secondary focus despite this being a part of the World Championships build-up.

"We have worked with this group an awful long time. So our upside potential isn't nearly as big as theirs. The disappointing thing is that when you do have that talented core of players, and you do have guys that understand one another, and you don't execute the way you should, you almost want to say that we've only had 10 training sessions together. That's a cop out. We should have played better than we have played today. We had an opportunity to get a game that we didn't get, and we've just got to play better, we should play better," said Baldwin.

"We are encouraged. There were so many empty possessions out there, where we are not executing the way we want to be. It's our first game and it was a good battle," said Tall Blacks sharpshooter Penney.

"We had some stretches where we strung some good defensive possessions together and made some big shots," said Penney.

The history of Australia versus New Zealand has heated up ever since the Tall Blacks defeated the Boomers 2-1 in 2001 and knocked the Australians out of the 2002 World Champs. Prior to 2001, New Zealand had only beaten Australia once in 1978, but the series is vastly more competitive now and as physically and mentally demanding as ever.

"For the young guys coming in they ask questions about the last time you played them. And you just tell them, you've got to be ready to go to war, go to battle, because every time we step onto the court against these guys it ends up being a fantastic game," said Boomers Captain Jason Smith.

"Every time they wear their countries colours, and we wear the green and gold, there's a lot of pride at stake," said Jason Smith.

As the basketball saying goes a team can 'live or die' by the three-pointer, the Tall Blacks surely fitted the billing, attempting 43 of their 74 field goal attempts (58 per cent) from three-point land courtesy of flare screens and penetrate and kick moves. Their success rate didn't match this high attempt rate with only 28 per cent finding it's mark including 3/14 during the fourth quarter. The Boomers didn't manage much better from deep with 9/28 (32 per cent), but were able to score from the inside to keep the defence honest. Coach Baldwin was happy about the shooting options when asked after the game, and noted that part of the team's strategies are for the big men to be comfortable shooting three-pointers.

"That's our gameplan. We can get good shots for them, than we can get good shots for Kirk and Phill, who defences focus on. If those guys can hit a few, then all of a sudden Kirk and Phil are going to get some more good looks. By the same token we have got to be a team that's careful not to fall in love with the three-pointer. We did a bit in the fourth quarter," said Baldwin.

Australian seven foot centre and former NBA player Chris Anstey was not only dominating in the paint, but also showed his shooting range and deft passing skills with a game-high 24 points (8/14 shooting), 12 rebounds, five assists and two steals. 2005 NBA #1 Draft Pick Andrew Bogut didn't dominate as much as expected, mainly due to the physical defensive pressure from the Kiwis and not allowing Bogut the position and space to operate. However the Milwaukee Bucks centre still managed to muster four slam dunks and a fade-away jumper in his 14 points (including four in overtime) and grabbed 10 boards from 38 minutes. Anstey and Bogut caused havoc on defence, with few Tall Blacks daring to venture into the key. Veteran Guard Jason Smith bombed away from the corners canning four from eight three-pointers and a vital 19 points when they were most needed to steady the Boomers. The Boomers point guard role was split amongst Aaron Bruce, Steven Markovic and Luke Kendall. Markovic moved the ball well in the first quarter, but Coach Goorjian was impressed by Kendall in the second half as his playmaker.

New Zealand were led by the high scoring Penney who had 17 points from 25 minutes and hit a rare four-point play in overtime. Penney did not rely on spot up shooting and looked even better in transition opportunities. Jones and Pero Cameron hit a few crucial jumpers along the way, but combined for 5/18 from behind the arc. The NZ bench stepped up, outscoring the Boomers 30-16. Craig Bradshaw played well in the high post with nine points and six rebounds, and the team lost little with Tony Rampton sidelined with foul trouble. Casey Frank saw extended minutes and had a rousing three-point play that allowed for the the Dickel three-point bomb. On Dickel's late fourth quarter heroics, his former Victoria Titans coach and now Boomers Head Coach Goorjian commented. "He has an uncanny ability to maybe miss eight in a row, and hit the one that's going to break your heart, and that's Mark Dickel." Hometown hero Paora 'Bishop" Winitana had seven points and played well when he was able to exploit the boundless natural athleticism he can exhibit. Dillon Boucher was rested for the night due to nagging minor injuries from the NBL Final last weekend and was replaced in the playing 12 with 19-year-old debutant Jeremiah Trueman. Baldwin was very happy with the job that Trueman had done noting the way he executed plays and didn't make mistakes during his four minutes on the floor. Trueman had two assists and a rebound.

The Tall Blacks and Australian Boomers now have one and a half days of trainings and video analysis sessions before squaring off in game two on Friday night in Napier once again at 7:30pm (TV2 coverage at 11:30pm). Boucher is expected to be back in time for Friday night, and Waikato Pistons guard Ben Hill will be in the playing twelve noted Baldwin. The Tall Blacks will cut the 14-man squad to 12 for the two final two games in Hobart and Melbourne next week.

Australian Boomers 81 (Chris Anstey 24, Jason Smith 19, Andrew Bogut 14)

New Zealand Tall Blacks 79 (Kirk Penney 17, Pero Cameron 12, Phil Jones 12, Casey Frank 10)
Halftime 31-3
Fulltime 67-67

Overtime 81-79
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