Patty Mills and Australia could not complete their quest for gold at the FIBA World Cup. The San Antonio Spurs guard poured in 34 points in a double-overtime loss to Spain.
After stampeding through the rest of the tournament, the Australian national team ultimately came up short against perennial powerhouse Spain. The game was a tightly contested matchup that ended in some controversy.
As time ran down in regulation it looked like Australia would be able to pull out the win and advance to the gold medal game. A few questionable fouls later and the game came down to free throws. Patty Mills was at the line with just over four seconds left and had a chance to give Australia the lead. But it was not to be as his shot rimmed out. Ricky Rubio collected the ball and put up a half-court prayer but the game was headed to overtime.
In the first overtime period, Patty and Marc Gasol exchanged big time three-pointers, each looking to give their squad some breathing room. Tied at eighty, the Australians came down the court looking to put the game away. Matthew Dellavedova had a contested look at the basket but couldn’t connect, sending it to 2OT.
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In double overtime, it came down to too many turnovers for the Boomers and capitalization on free-throw opportunities for the Spaniards. Mills hit pull-up three with just under a minute left to pull the game back into reach but it would not be enough.
Regardless of how the game ended, the San Antonio Spurs guard should be proud of how he and his country played. Mills has been nothing short of dominant for the Australians so far. After all, it was his 30 point effort against France that got them to this game.
Today, he led the way in scoring by a substantial amount. His 34 points were the most by a player on either team and 18 more than the next closest Australian. However, he did have seven turnovers, some of them in key moments, that really hurt the Boomers chances.
Looking to the NBA season, Patty’s performance at the FIBA World Cup so far has to be encouraging for San Antonio Spurs fans. As the leader of the Australian squad, he has commanded the offense with authority. He’s been looking for his own shot and they’ve been landing. His confidence is clearly riding sky-high. Let’s hope it carries into the season.
As much as this controversial loss may hurt, Mills and the rest of the Boomers have hardly any time to lick their wounds. On Sunday they will have to play in the bronze medal game against a familiar opponent.
While coming up short of their ultimate goal of a gold medal is surely disappointing. However, Mills and the rest of the team will still need to be locked in for what’s to come. All that stands between them and bronze is a feisty French team looking for revenge.