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Boomers push No.2 side Spain to the limit

NZ Newswire July 18, 2012, 10:47 am

The Australian men's basketball team gave world No.2 Spain a real fright before going down narrowly, 75-69, to a team boasting four NBA stars.

LA Lakers star Pau Gasol posted a match-high 22 points for European champions Spain while Brad Newley top-scored for the ninth-ranked Boomers with 16 points in the first game of a two-match series in Granada on Tuesday (Wednesday AEST).

San Antonio point guard Patty Mills added 14 points and four assists for Australia while centre David Andersen marked his return in the green and gold with 12 points and five rebounds.

After being down 19-16 at the first break, the Australians levelled the score 35-35 at halftime.

In front of a 10,000 crowd, the Boomers kept pace with their Olympic pool rivals, only allowing them a one-point gap after the third quarter.

An upset looked on the cards as Australia led by four points in the final term before the Spaniards edged away.

"I think any time you get the opportunity to play Spain in Spain 10 days before the Olympics Games start is a great experience," Australian coach Brett Brown said.

"We leave the game proud of our effort, but really disappointed in a game we feel we could have won."

Spain, who rested Memphis Grizzlies centre Marc Gasol - Pau's brother - for the clash, also boasted the likes of Oklahoma City's Serge Ibaka and will provide a huge test for the Boomers when they meet again in the group stages in London.

Australia will face Spain again in Malaga on Wednesday (Thursday AEST) before playing Brazil and France in France on July 22 and 23 before their Games campaign starts six days later.

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