Patty Mills has drained a three-pointer as time expired to secure Australia a thrilling 87-84 win over Argentina to open their Tokyo Olympics warm-up campaign in Las Vegas.
- Mills led the scoring for the Boomers with 17 points
- Nigeria defeated Team USA 90-87 in a stunning upset
- The Boomers meet Team USA in an exhibition game on Tuesday
With scores tied and just 2.5 seconds left, Mills — named as one of Australia’s flag-bearers for the Tokyo opening ceremony — in-bounded the ball and got it straight back from teammate Jock Landale.
Mills then rose up to nail the long bomb in the face of two defenders.
It capped a thrilling game which went back and forth, on the same court Nigeria stunned Team USA 90-87 just hours earlier in the four-team invitational in Las Vegas.
The Boomers fell behind by 11 points midway through the second period against an Argentine side paced by 41-year-old former NBA journeyman Luis Scola’s game-high 25 points, but held their own double-digit lead midway through the third period.
Mills finished with a team-high 17 points on four of nine shooting from behind the three-point arc, while Joe Ingles found his range late to finish with 16 points.
Matisse Thybulle’s Boomers debut could not have been more impressive.
The Philadelphia 76ers guard lived up to his billing as a defensive stand-out with three blocks and four steals, but his play at the offensive end was a nice addition to the Boomers side as he poured in 15 points.
But it was Mills who provided a reminder why he remains the heartbeat of the Boomers side.
“To be able to play these tight games and tight situations is going to bring us even more together,” Mills said of his late clutch play.
“Just being able to get my hand on the ball, get comfortable with it, get a lot of legs, rise up and whatever happens after that happens.”
The Boomers will next play the US on Tuesday morning (AEST).
US goes down in boilover
Nigeria pulled off one of the greatest upsets in international basketball history with its victory over Team USA.
It was Team USA’s first loss to an African nation. They previously defeated Nigeria 156-73 in August 2012 at the London Olympics.
Nigeria features six NBA players and is coached by former NBA head coach and current Golden State Warriors assistant Mike Brown.
The Nigerian side defeated a Team USA starting five of Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal, Jayson Tatum, Kevin Durant and Bam Adebayo.
Gabe Vincent, who averaged 4.8 points in 13.1 minutes per game for the Miami Heat this past season, led all scorers with 21 points and made six three-pointers for Nigeria.
Durant scored 17 points and Tatum had 15 for Team USA.
The other NBA players playing for Nigeria include Precious Achiuwa and KZ Okpala of the Miami Heat, Chimezie Metu (Sacramento), Josh Okogie (Minnesota) and Miye Oni (Utah).