Australia dominated France in the opening game of the men’s basketball tournament at the Rio Olympics. In a matchup of medal contenders, Australia simply took advantage of France’s poor defense throughout the game.
The Boomers benefitted from quick starts by Aron Baynes and Patty Mills, who combined for 16 points in the opening frame. Australia’s unselfish ball movement exploited a lackadaisical French defense throughout. The Aussies consistently found easy offense as backdoor cuts flummoxed the French defense.
As unaware on defense as they were careless on offense, France committed six turnovers in the first quarter and finished with 17 in the game.
France momentarily looked like they might live up to their medal-contender billing, when Tony Parker caught fire in the second quarter. Parker scored had 16 points in the period and helped to cut the Australian lead from 15 points to just 3 entering halftime.
Parker’s second-quarter effort offensively was matched by his teammates on the defensive end where France was noticeably improved. Rudy Gobert made his presence felt, tallying two offensive rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks helping to spur on a 14-2 run by France to close out the period. But the uptick would not last.
Australia bounced back in the third and extended their lead early. Mills led the charge for the Boomers, scoring eight points and displaying excellent floor vision to hit Aussie cutters resulting in easy layups.
France was caught ball-watching throughout the second half and was abused time and time again by backdoor cuts. In a microcosm of France’s defensive inabilities, Matthew Dellavedova and Andrew Bogut combined for back-to-back alley-oops early in the fourth quarter to extend the Australian lead to 19.
When the dust settled and the layups ceased, Australia came away with a decisive 87-66 win over France. Australia looked like a medal contender in the first game of their Olympic slate, while France will have to see significant improvement in every facet of their game if they have medal aspirations.