When Andrew Bogut went down with the severely bruised knee that knocked him from the NBA Finals, no one from Australia's basketball team figured he would be able to play in the Olympics.
Thompson, a former teammate of Bogut at the Warriors, said the Aussies were a team to watch. "But it was good enough to play".
The 24-year-old point guard has dual citizenship with the USA and Australia and a polite tug-of-war took place about which national team he would represent in the build-up to the 2012 London Olympics.
Australia looked terrific. France, thought to be a medal favorite, did not.
The U.S. plays its final three pool play games against Australia, Serbia and France.
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After already adding to their standout records, Americans Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky are back in the pool for even more. Her all-around total of 62.366 was more than two points clear of teammate Aly Raisman .
A terrific third quarter performance by Australia, nicknamed The Boomers, swamped the victor of the Manila Olympic Qualification tournament France 87-66 on the opening day of the Rio Olympics basketball tournament. "We need to be in guys".
"We need to be physical because that's the only chance we have to beat a lot of these teams who are a little more talented than us".
France beat Turkey 55-39, Canada overcame China 90-68, Japan edged Belarus 77-73 and Australia beat hosts Brazil 84-66.
Parker poured in 16 points prior to halftime, slashing into the paint and punishing big men in the pick-and-roll. "That's not us. We got to move the ball".
Australia has already put itself in position to finish second in Group A and be placed on the opposite side of the Americans in the elimination-round bracket.
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The team are flirting with elimination after two scoreless draws, the first against South Africa. They posted a team score of 185.238, a mile clear of second-place qualifier China at 175.279.
Bogut's victory was aided by Jazzman Joe Ingles, who said he thinks Bogut proved he's the consummate professional with Saturday's performance. "He's more of a screener and a ball-mover. We're just happy to have him out there, it makes a huge difference".
"They're trying to get things right (for the athletes)", he said.
Clocking 22 minutes during Saturday's contest against France, Bogut finished with 18 points on 9-of-10 shooting. Bogut added five dimes himself, as Australia registered 29 assists on its 35 field goals.
Bogut, who helped Golden State win last year's National Basketball Association crown and come within one game of a repeat this year, hit 9-of-10 shots and dominated inside as the Boomers stayed ahead of France from start to finish in the Group A clash. For various reasons, he'd rather the NBA talent not play Olympic basketball because there is a big risk with their health and the NBA isn't necessarily getting a tangible benefit from that risk.
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