Australia is facing a must-win situation to stay alive for a World Cup medal, writes Olgun Uluc of ESPN. Sunday’s loss to Germany means the Boomers will have to get by host Japan on Tuesday to advance past the first round of pool play. It’s an unexpected position for a nation with numerous NBA players on its roster, and coach Brian Goorjian called out his team for a lack of focus.
“When I’m hard like that, is when the effort, the controllable stuff is off,” Goorjian said. “I just thought the first five minutes of the game, we had two or three guys on the floor asleep. Off defensively, rebounds, the schemes were a step off. I just needed that timeout to use my voice. Again, that’s really the only time I go off. It’s been very rare; I think that’s the first time since I’ve had them this year that I’ve had to do that.”
Goorjian may need to consider a lineup change to boost the team, Uluc adds. Josh Giddey has taken over as the play-maker, but he needs to be surrounded by outside shooters. Matisse Thybulle and Nick Kay haven’t been able to fill that role, allowing opponents to pack the paint. Uluc notes that Goorjian has considered starting Josh Green at forward, which may be necessary to change Australia’s fortunes.
There’s more from the World Cup:
- Monday was a historic day for African basketball as two nations picked up their first-ever World Cup victories, per Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. South Sudan defeated China and Cape Verde topped Venezuela, leaving both teams in contention for second-round berths and a possible spot in next year’s Olympics. “I’m still speechless,” Cape Verde’s Will Tavares said. “I feel like I’m in a dream right now, but the win was so big for us and our country and our families. We made a statement. Even though we’re the smallest country, we have so much heart.”
- The Philippines is 0-2 with losses to the Dominican Republic and Angola, but Jordan Clarkson tells Cesare Milanti of Eurohoops that he’s grateful for the enthusiastic response from the Manila crowd. “It was fun, it was definitely amazing,” he said. “The turnout and the support were great. For us, being the host city is definitely felt. A lot of our games will be loud and packed out: we looking forward to those.”
- In a Sportando interview, Nikola Vucevic says Montenegro feels like a legitimate contender after defeating Mexico and Egypt in its first two games.