Playing an Olympic warm-up in Granada, the Australian Boomers national basketball team fell just short of upsetting medal favourite Spain.
In the first of a two game series, Spain, playing four NBA stars and three others with significant NBA experience, were only able to sneak by the Aussies 75-69.
The Boomers levelled the scores at half-time, 35-35, before taking a four-point lead in the fourth quarter of a game that attracted 10,000 fans.
"I think any time you get the opportunity to play Spain in Spain 10 days before the Olympics Games start is a great experience," Aussie coach Brett Brown said.
"We leave the game proud of our effort, but really disappointed in a game we feel we could have won."
While it was a great performance, coach Brown’s quote is that of man who seems just happy to be there. An NBA assistant coach, Brown may have come to the realisation that this team isn’t a chance at a medal, especially without NBA star Andrew Bogut.
Brad Newly top-scored for the Boomers with 16 points while free agent NBA point guard Patty Mills chipped in 14 and four assists.
L.A Lakers all-star Pau Gasol produced a game-high 22 points on 7-11 shooting, which is probably to be expected considering Australia doesn’t possess any big men near to the quality of Gasol.
Most of the NBA talent on Spain’s roster didn’t do a whole lot other than former Nuggets guard Rudy Fernandez (nine points), but this team has a legit shot at the gold, not just because of their American paid stars; their entire roster consists of some of Europe’s top players: J.C Navarro, Sergio Rodriquez and Sergio Llull are but a few of the world class athletes on the Spanish roster.