AUSSIE coach Andrej Lemanis says he is proud his side plays so-called “dirty” basketball as the Boomers sealed their quarter-final berth.
The Boomers coasted to a 93-68 victory over winless China to lock in a top four berth after three wins from four pool games.
Team USA star Paul George said after Australia’s 10-point loss the Australians had a reputation for being a “little dirty”.
But Lemanis said it was in Australian basketball’s DNA to mix grunt with skill, embracing the mix of brawn and brains.
Australia is desperate to have the last laugh with a finals rematch against America and second place in the pool will at least set them up for that likelihood.
“It’s always interesting, you talk about being dirty, if you look at the NBA play-offs, they call that playing hard,’’ Lemanis said.
“I think that’s what we do, we play hard and one of the words in our trademark is about being amorphic.
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“We are a team that has been able to do that, we are able to adjust to the circumstances that are required as a team.
“There is no doubt we can get into the trenches but we can also move the ball and share the ball and when we are given room to move we can exploit that too.”
Australia could not be better placed ahead of its final pool game against Venezuela on Monday morning at 8am (EST).
Andrew Bogut was rested entirely and could be managed again for the final pool game while Patrick Mills is also a candidate for a rest after playing only a half.
Lemanis said Bogut wasn’t exactly thrilled with the decision to park him on the bench but understood the greater good.
“All players are never happy to sit out, players are competitors and they want to play but he understood for the overall picture and good of the team it was good for him to get an additional rest at this period of time and to ensure we are where we need to be in five days time.”
Australia has never been in such a position of luxury, able to coast through its final pool games to set itself for a blockbuster do-or-die game.
“We are in a good spot, confidence is good,w e have been playing some good basketball and we have continued to play well every game,’’ said Lemanis.
“We are in a good place, we can go big and we can go little (with our match-ups) and we can run but our defence is what is winning us basketball games and that’s good because that can be consistent.”