Sunday, January 25, 2009

Australia vs. China Mens Gold Medal Game

Australia vs. China Men’s Gold Medal Game

Australian Starters:

Aldridge 4- PG Greenwood 5- SG Drmic- 7-SF Rowley-14-PF Trist- 15- C


Shi- 4- PG Shan- 6-SG Ju- 10- SF Li- 15- C

China jumps out to an early 4 point lead after a good offensive set and break-away layup by Shi. Drmic gets banged on the way to the cup but scores anyway. 3 point play. Australia on the board.

China has three early fouls and I strongly disagree with two of them.

Greenwood gets caught in the air, but throws in a make anyway. China lead 6-5. Shi has 7 early points. 2 lay-ups and a transition 3. Aussies need to step up with their transition game defensively.

China leads 9-5. Good hands by Greenwood to stop an easy two. He gives up the foul, but that’s probably a better option than letting a 7’1 guy tear the ring down on an otherwise uncontested dunk.

Rowley makes a tough reverse. China lead 10-9. China’s man to man D is much improved from 2 days ago. There’s more communication, they’re sliding their feet and playing better all round in general. Aldridge hits the open 3 but Shi gets another transition lay-up- this time off a made basket.

Zhu finishes with a dunk for China and its 14 apiece with 2 minutes left in the 1st. Australia traps off two made freebies by Aldridge, but Gao has either an ally-oop option or a 3. He drains the 3. China leads 17-16 with 1:15 remaining.

A filthy in-your-grill fade away from the right block by Ju and a 3pt play by Gao open the lead to 4. 7 hits two freethrows and China find themselves up 6.

China calls time-out with 2 seconds left in the quarter and Shi hits a running jumper from five feet outside the 3pt line as time expires. China lead 28-19.

This is a totally different Chinese team to what spectators saw 2 days ago. They’re aggressive to the basket, executing their offense and creating mismatches down low. Hongfei Shi is also playing out of his mind. He has 12 already.

Double foul called on Hussey and Zhu as the intensity goes up. The Australian crowd is finally awake too. China leads’ 32-25 after Hussey is called for his 3rd.

Shi tries to go all Dwyane Wade with the dribble penetration. Fail. Offensive foul.

Drmic ends a series of botched possessions by both teams with an And1. China’s lead is cut to 3 after a 6-0 Aussie run.

Gao weaves his way to the bucket and switches hands for a stylish deuce. Greenwood answers with a three. Gao drills a heavily contested 3 but again Greenwood is the one to answer for Australia.

China leads 37-35 with free-throws coming up for Gao. He misses both. The Chinese support contingent groans collectively. Shi nails an open 3 and China lead by 3. The Chinese are matching the Australian physicality tonight- something they didn’t earlier. Good game-to-game adjustment by Coach Wang.

Gao knocks down both freebies to open up a 5 point buffer. Shi rips Hadziomerovic and feeds Gao for a lay-up. He gets fouled. Make. He misses the second freebie, but Shi (the smallest player on the court by a good 4 inches gets an offensive board and feeds Ju for a deuce.

Shi gets another offensive board and this time gets Zhu involved for 2. China is up 9 52-43.

Shi drills another 3. He’s got 18 and been almost lights-out tonight.

Greenwood hits an 18ft jumper. He has 19 for the Aussies. Next highest scorer is Drmic with 8. For China it was the Shi and Gao show. The basketball version of Jackie and Jet? Maybe.

2nd half:

Gao hits a crazy stepping lay-up in transition. The Asian Manu perhaps? China pushes the lead to 9 49-58. The crowd is ‘officially’ 1941, but it’s a good 200 more than that. At least.

There are kids starting to fill the baseline, sitting next to the floor sweepers. Shi for 3. Money. He’s got 21. China is up 10. Aldridge knocks down a 3 and it’s suddenly a 3 point game after some made free-throws and a fast break bucket to Trist.

Zhu lands awkwardly and Hussey runs right over the top of him. Both teams take offense to the play in general and start jawing at each-other.

The refs are happy to tell em to just ‘cool it’ but as the players try to get at each-other the refs are again forced to intervene and a foul is called on Zhu.

Hussey draws a charge and again it’s a 3 point game. He’s fired up and so is the crowd. It’s weird that the crowd isn’t just noisy all the time. It takes something to spark them into cheering. There’s around 200 Chinese supporters here (as well as the women’s team) and they make more noise than everyone else. Easily.

Aldridge (pictured above) is jawing at Li- who’s a good foot taller than him. Foul on Aldridge though. If I’m 6 foot, I’m probably not getting into it with a dude whose 7’1. Nice fire inside him though.

Hussey throws down a two-hander on the other end and it’s a 1 point game. Aldridge steals the rock and he’s fouled. He’s at the line for 2. Good, short. Game tied at 61, 3 minutes remaining. Ju scores to break the dead-lock.

Ju blocks Odigie on an iso, then goes to work down low on Hussey. The Dirk like fall-away is net. There are at least 2200 people here now. There is absolutely no seating available. People are watching from the along both baselines- definite safety hazard.

Drmic hits 2 freebies and China’s lead is 2 with 2 to go. China traps and forces the turnover. Rowley grabs an offensive rebound and finishes with the reverse right handed. Game tied at 65. Australia leads for the first time after a Hussey tip-in on the buzzer.

The Chinese big guys had much less of an impact this quarter. China scored 28 points to Australia’s 30 but the four and 5 spots only had 8 total.

Shi drains an NBA range 3 pointer and Greenwood answers with a runner in the lane.

Australia up 1. Greenwood hits and Australia is up 4 with 7:20 left. Rowley to the line: good, short.

Corbin Wroe powers down the lane, gets hit-no call. He makes it anyway. Australia up 75-68 and it looks like China is running out of gas with 6 minutes left in the game.

Ju hits out of the time-out. Greenwood answers and he’s got 23.

Ju hits the exact same shot. He’s got 14. It’s 5 point game and China has two free-throws coming up. Good, good. Now it’s a 3 point game.

Wang muscles his way in for two off an offensive board. Aldridge hits a 3 as the shot clock goes off and Drmic is fouled under the basket. It turns into a 4 point play for the Aussies. The refs don’t even check to see if the 3 was in time, and since the bench can’t tell them it was late, it turns into a made 3 (when everyone in press row thinks it wasn’t released in time).

Drmic hits the free-throw, and it’s a massive momentum swing in favor of the Australians.

Greenwood streaks away for a lay-up and the lead is 10. Aldridge has 2 free-throws coming up. Cash, cash. 15 for Jacko.

Australia breaks the Chinese trap and now it’s a 14 point game with 2:25 remaining. Ju answers with a 3. Aldridge hits both at the line and it’s a 13 point game. Two Australians knock each-other over on a defensive switch and Shi hammers home a corner 3. 10 point game.

Aldridge knocks down 2 more free-throws. Cold blooded. After some more jawing, missed Chinese 3 pointers and Aldridge and Hussey free-throws, it’s all over and Australia has won gold in the Men’s game 98-82.
So, after a ridiculously entertaining game Australia ends up 16 point victors. The final score doesn’t do justice to the competitiveness of the two teams throughout. Although tempers boiled over on several occasions tonight, overall, it was a good, friendly atmosphere.
Both teams wanted to win so badly it was no surprise that physicality became a big part of deciding the winner.
David Hussey was particularly aggressive tonight, and it’s part of his game to play the enforcer-he performed that to perfection tonight, backing away from conflict if his participation was unnecessary, while also rushing to aid and back-up his team-mates if they looked over-matched. He finished with 10 points tonight, but set the tone with his passion and fire early on.

Aldridge finished with 20,6 and 2 and shot 90% from the FT line including 6/6 from the line in the last 7 minutes of the 4th quarter. Clutch. Clutch. Clutch.

Hugh Greenwood was the high point man for Australia tonight. He had 27. Every time China looked dangerous or made a run, Greenwood would get into the lane and create plays for others, usually as the shot clock wound down. He hit shot after shot tonight. He had 8 4th quarter points to help with the final push home.
Shi finished with 27 points on 10-24 shooting, including 7 three pointers. He had 6 rebounds and 2 assists. Gao had 21 points on 7-11 shooting as well as 6 rebounds. Ju had 16 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, a block and a steal. China finishes with 41% shooting from the floor, 29% from 3 point land and 63% from the FT line. They had 33 rebounds, 11 assists, 16 turnovers, 7 steals and 9 blocks.
For the victors, Greenwood had 27 points (on 12-20 shooting) and 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. Aldridge (listed above) was the next highest scorer. Drmic had 12 points, a game high 9 rebounds and a game high 6 six assists. Rowley finished with 11 points and 8 rebounds and Hussey had 10.

Peace, Hursty.


Moose said...

Chippy, Chippy, Chippy.

Roy said...

Great post Hursty. Congrats to your country Australia for bagging the Gold. :D

Hursty said...

Moose- I'd rather have a physical and emotional game than one without spirit. But yes it was.
Thx Roy. Appreciated. Yes, even the Chinese supporters cheered at the end of the game- they recognised the effort of both teams.
Thx fellas!

Bobston said...


Bobston said...

Good to see there's still lads keen on hoops in Aus. Hopefully the new look NBL can have some success and these youngsters can build their careers at home.
Nice work Mate...

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