Well, that wasn't the beginning the boomers were expecting.
Australia entered the game with a wave of high expectations, but came across a heavily undermined side of Canada in its first warm-up game before the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
Nick Nurse's team seemed to have more chemistry – yes, even more than the Boomers team known for its cohesiveness – and exited Perth's Rth Arena with a 90-70 victory.
"We played pretty well," said a nurse after her team won. "They seemed to work very hard. I thought they had some options and missed a bunch of easy shots that I expect to make too many nights.
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"We also work hard, but we had a few more to go in and it was nice to see our guys play pretty good team basketball as we haven't been together for a long time."
Kevin Pangos led the guests with 18 points, including several decisive buckets in the fourth quarter, and Andrew Nemhard came down from the bench with 12 points, 10 rebounds and four assists for the Canadian team, who should feel good about winning one of their group H opponents.
"We got on pretty well," Pangos said. "A group like this, when we play so hard, makes a lot of mistakes. This is what the coach preaches: just play hard and aggressively, play confidently. I think we did well tonight and there is definitely still room for growth, which is positive, for sure. "
Patty Mills had 20 points for the Boomers, but we didn't just click on the Lemanis team. Jock Landale won the start and finished with 18 points on his property, while Andrew Bogut impressed with 10 points and 13 rebounds.
The two teams will play again in Perth on Saturday night.
While Australia is the team with more talent, it is the Canadians who came out with the hot hand and this open stretch of high-energy basketball from the nurse team really set the tone for the rest of the game.
"They came out and played well," Matthew Delavevedova said after the Boomers lost. "I think we were on the back foot for a little bit of the first part and turned it around a little bit, but they were in a good rhythm."
Kyle Wiltjer opens the scoring with a mid-range jumper before hitting a three-pointer to extend Canada's early lead.
Boomers have been very focused on handling multiple ball manipulators in different sequences, but Canada's defense – though perhaps a slow step – was still active and suffocating.
Pangos' three-pointer was quickly followed by a mid-range jumper by Phil Scooby, with Canada leading by 15-6 ahead, forcing Lemanis to wait.
Australia came out of timeouts with a heightened sense of urgency as Landdale began to show his presence inside the battle. Back-to-back Patty Mills triples reduced Australia's deficit to just one possession, but Owen Klassen, with hoops and damage, gave Canada a 25-20 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Tom Scrub opened the second period with a threesome in what continues to be the trend in the first half. Nemhard came into the game and directed the show, doing an impressive job creating for himself and others beyond motivation; The 20-year average jump gave Canada a 36-27 lead.
Pangos showed how comfortable FIBA's game was, hitting three points to extend its team lead to 46-34; at that time for Canada.
Landdale found his touch inside to keep the boomers in it before Mills' order reduced Australia's deficit to 46-36, entering the main break.
Canada boomed in real boom when the back-to-back buckets – closed by three other Wiltjers – extended their lead to 51-36, but Australia increased physicality and returned to single digits. Joe Ingles and one opportunity were improved by targeting Bogut, reducing the Boomers' deficit to just 57-52 midway through the third period.
A pair of buckets by Chris Golding – a layup followed by a three-pointer from the wing – tied the game at 57-57, but Canada was not staged; Klasen returned with his own schemes before Kaza Kajami-Keane scored five straight points to give his team a 67-60 advantage in the final quarter.
As much as Australia tries to come forward, Canada will not back down, keeping its advantage out of reach of the Boomers.
Landale's adjustment reduced the Boomers' deficit to 73-66 during the midpoint of the last period, with Lemanis stuck with most of his starts to end the game, but Pangos took to stopping the exit by stepping into the clutch before the birch. effectively put a button on it; Canada has launched the first of two warm-up games in Perth.
The Boomers will still enter the World Cup – which begins in China on August 31 – as one of the favorites to get away with a medal, but Lemanis knows his team still has a ways to go before colliding with the elite team.
"(We have to be) get back into the rhythm of the game and that's obvious," said the Australian head coach. "I mean, we had nine turnovers in the first half, we found the third quarter with reverse turnovers after a few big defensive possessions where we could build some momentum. And they were all worthy plays. On the rim half open, crush it, turn it over… Signs of a return to the rhythm of the game for sure. "
Landdale won the fourth-place Boomers by playing with Bogut in the front court, and he made a significant impact in his first game in the history of this iteration of the team.
The St. Mary's product cited defensive end and lack of adjustments as one of the reasons for Friday's boomers.
"At the defensive end, we fired easy shots. I think they kind of live and die from mid-range jumpers, but they hit, so we have to try to do something else to get them out of there, maybe not give up so many threes, "Landyle said. "We make up our minds as we go along, and I think that's something we will do in the next few weeks. I think we'll be good. "
As for Canada, they enjoy a win that not many people saw coming, and you can tell how well the team spent their time together.
"I think in the locker room we just have confidence in ourselves, and that's the most important thing," Pangos said.
The two teams will be back again on Saturday night – the same expiration time as 7:30 pm (AEST) – and the Boomers will no doubt come out with a greater sense of urgency.
A nurse coming out of an NBA championship likened him to postseason basketball.
"I think it looks a bit like basketball for the playoffs," said Toronto Raptors coach. "There's one team that loses; they get a little angry, they get fired, they get a little more physical, there is more legal pressure and all that stuff.
"I'm glad for me. I hope they do. We need to see a little more pressure and a little more physicality just to see how we react to it. "
Olgun Uluk is a senior basketball reporter for Fox Sports Australia. Twitter: @OlgunUluc
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