‘B team’ Boomers claim big scalp ahead of Tokyo

Melbourne United’s Chris Goulding had a perfect night, and Australia had another impressive pre-Olympic showing today.

Goulding scored 21 points — making all seven of his shot attempts, all from three-point range — and Australia rolled past Nigeria 108-69 in an exhibition today in a matchup of the two teams that have already beaten the USA in Las Vegas.

Australia (3-0 in Las Vegas) had six players in double figures and did so on a night when the Boomers gave four of their best players — Joe Ingles, Patty Mills, Matthew Dellavedova and Aron Baynes — the game off to rest. All four are loaded with NBA experience.

“It’s not right now about winning games; that’s down the road,” Boomers coach Brian Goorjian Goorjian said after the game. “It’s about learning and getting better.

“And since the second half of the USA game, I just think the team’s starting to understand what we need to do and how we need to play to win.”

Duop Reath scored 17 points, Nathan Sobey had 15, Jock Lansdale and Josh Giddey each added 14 and Josh Green finished with 11 for Australia.

The Boomers shot 63 per cent from the field, 62 per cent from three-point range and outscored Nigeria 54-24 from beyond the arc.

Josh Okogie and Obi Emegano each scored 10 for Nigeria, which fell to 2-1 in its Olympic tune-ups.

Many fans had already dubbed today’s Boombers’ squad as Australia’s ‘B team’ due to the number of stars being rested.

Nigeria’s head coach Mike Brown admitted during the game that his side, which bolsters eight active NBA players, believed they could roll past the Boomers without breaking a sweat.

“For us tonight, we thought we were going to be able to walk in here and take it to these guys,” Brown said after one quarter against the weakened Boomers. “But these guys can play.”

Brown is also no stranger to the basketball world, with nearly two decades of coaching experience in the NBA. The Nigerian head coach at one stage during his career was the man in charge of the LA Lakers during the Kobe Bryant era back in the 2011-12 NBA season.

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