Great Britain picked up their first win at the Olympic games on Monday afternoon, as they beat China 90-58 at the Olympic Basketball Arena.
Putting on one of their best performances of the tournament, GB played unselfish basketball which resulted in five players reaching double figures, led by Kieron Achara’s 16 points.
Achara was the surprise offensive threat of the game, having not scored in the tournament so far. Talking after the game, he was relieved and proud to get GB’s first win:
“We’ve been plugging away from the start, and after the Australia game we had to bounce back. Thankfully we got the win today, we’ve had some great support throughout the tournament, I’m proud to be British and proud to be here.”
The win means GB finish the tournament in 9th place (out of 12 teams), with a 1-4 record.
Robert Archibald, who left the game to huge hugs from his teammates after announcing he will retire after the games earlier this year, was particularly proud of the team effort. He tweeted after the game:
Chris Finch confirmed rumours it was his last outing at the helm of GB, and was extremely pleased with the team’s performance:
“I was extremely proud with the way they played today. They came out with a lot of fire in their belly, they wanted to play well. It was important for our entire programme to get a win, to make a little bit of history.
Our guys were up to that challenge. I think, certainly, it was what we needed, it was what the basketball community in general needed and I’m very proud.”
It leaves everyone asking the question, “what’s next?” for GB basketball, with assistant coach Nick Nurse having also said it’ll likely be his last game with the team, and Robert Archibald and Nate Reinking confirming their retirements. GB will no doubt have a huge transitional period over the next few years, where only time will tell what the true ‘legacy’ of the Olympic games is.
For now however, let’s celebrate a monumental victory and hope it is the beginning of something more long term.
Australia beat Russia 82-80
Australia’s Patty Mills drilled a three pointer at the buzzer to give Australia a 2 point victory over previously undefeated Russia. Joe Ingles led Australia with 20 points, whilst Patty Mills added 13. Sasha Kaun led Russia with 18 points.
Lithuania beat Tunisia 76-63
Lithuania survived a scare before escaping with a win over Tunisia. Darius Songaila and Sarunas Jasikevicius led Lithuania with 13 points each, whilst Amine Rzig gad 17 on 7/9 shooting for Tunisia.
France beat Nigeria 79-73.
Nicolas Batum leads France with 23, Chamberlain Oguchi has 35 for Nigeria.
Group A Final Standings
Group B Final Standings
5. Great Britain
Quarter Final Match-Ups
France vs Spain
Russia vs Lithuania
Brazil vs Argentina
USA vs Australia
- Amazing how much busier the Olympic park and Stratford have been since the athletics started at the weekend!
- The Patty Mills game winner was awesome, and one of the plays of the tournament so far, just a pity it wasn’t in a more meaningful game!
- Despite Tunisia being one of the worst teams here, they seem to come out of the gates firing against all the favourites, giving them all a little wake-up call, before their opponents get their act together and pull away in the second half.
- Bottom four final standings: 9. Great Britain; 10. Nigeria; 11. Tunisia; 12. China
- Mike Lenzly (calf) and Pops Mensah-Bonsu (unsure why at this point) sat out for GB.
- Luol Deng wouldn’t give a direct yes or no answer to the question if he’ll suit up for GB again, saying it depends on his situation but did say he loves playing for GB.
- Scariest thing about the USA, for me, is how quickly they can score. One minute they’ll be on 60, you blink, and they’ll have 85 – it’s ridiculous.
- With GB’s Olympic campaign over, it’ll be extremely interesting to see what happens with basketball across the UK from here on out.
Who have you got in the quarters? Let us know what you think about the day’s games in the comments!
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