'Patty for PM': Boomers break through for 65-year Olympics first

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·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
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Patty Mills celebrates after winning bronze with the Boomers in the men's basketball at the Tokyo Olympics.
Patty Mills guided Australia to basketball bronze with a 42-point explosion against Slovenia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

A Patty Mills scoring explosion has helped the Boomers to their first Olympic medal in team history, winning the bronze medal match over Slovenia 107-93.

Fresh from signing a deal to join the Brooklyn Nets next NBA season, Mills dropped 42 in an inspired effort to get the Boomers over the line.

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Though the Boomers played well, it wasn't until the second half that Mills got proper scoring support from his teammates, at one point accounting for more than half of Australia's points.

Slovenia, principally through burgeoning NBA superstar Luka Doncic, put up a stern fight, closing to within three points in the fourth quarter after trailing by as many as 14 early in the final frame.

The Boomers rose to the occasion though, and in addition to Mills, the likes of Joe Ingles and Dante Exum found their range in the fourth to add some crucial buckets.

It was an emotional scene after the final buzzer, with Mills and Ingles embracing on court in a moment of unparalleled catharsis.

"We've been waiting for this moment for a long time; it's taken a lot of ups, a lot of downs for us to get over the hump," Mills told the Seven Network.

"It's our culture, Aussie spirit, the boys being able to hang together.

"Now we've made it over the hill, this is the standard now for Australian basketball for men.

"I don't know whether to cry, laugh, smile - a lot of emotions.

"It's time to bring an Olympic medal home ... so I can hang it up at Mum and Dad's house."

The medal win was the culmination of years of improvement, but also of decades of near misses and painful fourth-place finishes.

After Mills and Ingles were key members of the team that suffered a crushing loss in the bronze medal game at the Rio 2016 Games, the elation on court was fitting.

Patty Mills detonates as Boomers win first Olympic medal

He put up 31 shots, 15 of those three-point attempts, in an aggressive performance that carried the side most of the way before Ingles (15 points, nine rebounds, four assists) found his range in the second half.

Exum (12 points) also hit crucial shots and made a timely defensive play against a Slovenian side that hung in despite Doncic struggling for a bulk of the night.

Aussie basketball fans erupted on social media after the match, with Mills' heroic effort capturing hearts.

Matisse Thybulle, an emerging NBA talent with Philadelphia 76ers who spent his early years in Australia, proved to be a telling addition in Tokyo.

He collected 11 points on 83 per cent shooting plus five rebounds, four assists, three steals and one block to have another dramatic impact on the contest.

A pair of Thybulle dunks, the second a flying effort in transition, gave Australia the momentum at the half, while Jock Landale (14 points, six-of-eight shooting) capped a fine tournament as he prepares to begin his NBA career with the San Antonio Spurs.

With AAP

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