25 July, 2021
07 August
5 Patty Mills (AUS)
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Player of the Bronze Medal Game | Australia's Pat Mills

TOKYO (Japan) - Patty Mills had the honor of a lifetime by carrying the Australian flag during the Opening Ceremony for the Tokyo Games.

On Saturday at the Super Saitama Arena, he had one of, if not the best, moments of his career by leading the Boomers to a Bronze Medal Game victory over Slovenia.

For the first time, Australia's men reached the podium at the Olympics or the FIBA Basketball World Cup. They had been so close before, finishing fourth at the Games in Rio de Janeiro and the World Cup in China two years ago. Australia had led the USA by 15 in the second quarter of their Semi-Final but in the end lost, 97-78.

Mills made sure he and his teammates put the disappointment behind them and remained mentally strong. The veteran guard poured in 42 points and handed out nine assists. He is the Player of the Game. Mills was 15-of-31 from the floor and finished with a game-high plus 35 efficiency mark.

The 32-year-old entered the contest averaging 19.6 points per game, having scored 25 on opening day in a win over Nigeria and 24 in a victory over Germany. More important, the Boomers also prevailed against Italy and then in the Quarter-Finals defeated Argentina in the last game of international basketball legend Luis Scola.

Mills had 18 in that game, but he needed to have an even bigger performance on Saturday if Australia were going to overcome Luka Doncic and Slovenia, a team that had mesmerized the sports world all summer.

Playing with a sense of urgency from the start, Mills set the tone early, providing basket after basket as Australia got their noses in front.

When Doncic made a layup to close the gap to 83-80, Mills got tangled up with Jaka Blazic, whose excellent defense had allowed Slovenia to claw their way back.

The referees called an unsportsmanlike foul on Blazic, and Mills took full advantage by making both free throws to restore his team's five-point lead.

He then picked out an open Dante Exum in the right corner and Exum, one of the Boomers' unsung heroes, drilled a three-pointer to put Australia in front by eight.

Australia needed Mills' scoring and he delivered to the tune of 42 points

Mills' fadeaway jumper increased the lead to nine, and there was no turning back for Australia, who had lost the Bronze Medal Game to Spain five years ago in Rio in the final seconds. Mills had poured in 30 points in that game.

Australia also lost Bronze Medal Games in Seoul (1988), Atlanta (1996) and Sydney (2000). France defeated Australia in the Third-Place Game of the World Cup in China, 67-59.

Now, thanks largely to Mills, they have at long last reached the podium.