A couple of days ago, it was asked whether or not Mills and Giddey would be able to work together to bring the Boomers success. So far, the answer is yes.
Patty Mills, now one of the elder statesmen on the Boomers, showed that he’s still got plenty to offer on the international scene even as his minutes in the NBA start to go down. Mills finished the game as the leading scorer with 25 points, eight rebounds and two assists while shooting 11 of 22 overall. The only knock on his game was his struggle from the three-point line, where he was 2 of 8.
Josh Giddey, one of the Oklahoma City Thunder’s prized youngsters, showed off his potential against Finland as well. He had 14 points, nine rebounds and eight assists in a performance that should become common in the NBA as his game continues to grow. His ability to score, make plays and control the offense will be key to Australia’s hopes of finishing the tournament with a medal.
Speaking of older players, Joe Ingles also had a solid game with 13 points, four rebounds and two assists while taking just eight field goal attempts. Dante Exum also added 10 points, two rebounds and three assists.
Lauri Markkanen may have been the most talented player on the floor in the opening game of the FIBA World Cup, but he got a reminder in just how big the overall talent difference was between Finland and Australia. Markkanen had a solid 19 points, eight rebound and four assists, but the only other Finnish player to hit double digits was Sasu Salin, who finished with 13 points and two rebounds.
While Finland managed to take a small 21-17 lead in the first quarter, things simply went downhill from there. After being outscored 28-19 in the second quarter, they then got outscored in the second half by a 53-32 margin which led to the final blowout score of 98-72.
Finland will face Japan next, while Australia will take on Germany. Both games will be played on Sunday, August 27.