In the final game of Group B at the Tokyo Olympics basketball, Australia take on Germany knowing that a win will guarantee them finishing top. For the Germans, a win will see them advance to the next round, though where they finish will depend on how Italy's final game against Nigeria culminates.
Both teams come into this contest on the back of wins. In fact, Australia have won both of their games in the tournament so far and look on course to finish with a medal as was expected of them coming into Tokyo. Germany, meanwhile, outlasted Nigeria in their previous game after losing their opener narrowly to the Italians.
Fixture - Australia vs Germany | 2020 Tokyo Olympics Basketball
Date & Time - Thursday, July 31st; 5:20 PM JST (July 31st; 4:20 AM ET).
Venue - Saitama Super Arena, Tokyo
Australia arrived at the Olympics with high hopes of finally clinching a basketball medal at the Games. They have finished fourth on four occasions in the past, as recent as 2016, and also missed out on a medal at the 2019 FIBA World Cup. Nevertheless, their core of NBA stars remains strong, with the San Antonio Spurs' Patty Mills currently unstoppable.
Mills has averaged 20.5 points, 5.5 assists and 2.5 steals across the two fixtures while shooting at 41% from downtown. In fact, four Australians are averaging double-figure point tallies so far and the team is benefitting from the depth its bench has, with Philadelphia 76ers star Matisse Thybulle impressing against Nigeria grabbing five steals.
With a more favorable quarter-final draw on the line, Australia will go all out to secure three wins from three. They will look to dominate the Germans in the paint, having averaged ten more boards per game so far than their opponents, and should have too much experience across the roster.
Team News: Australia
Boomers coach Brian Goorjian hasn't tinkered with his starting lineup thus far and won't start now after two victories. Four of Australia's starters play in the NBA with center Jock Landale the only missing member of that group. However, the Melbourne United player won the NBL Championship last year and was the NBL Grand Finals MVP.
Alongside Mills in the backcourt has been 2016 NBA champion Matthew Dellavedova, who has struggled with injuries in recent years but has provided yet more experience to the Australian side.
Also Check out: Australian Olympic Basketball Team 2021
Utah Jazz star Joe Ingles' flexibility means he has been starting as the small forward and is so far shooting at 43% from three and scoring 12.5 points per game. In the Boomers frontcourt with Ingles is Raptors' center Aron Baynes who will be looking to impress Toronto fans after a disappointing season.
Australia Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Patty Mills | Shooting Guard - Matthew Dellavedova | Small Forward - Joe Ingles | Power Forward - Aron Baynes | Center - Jock Landale
Germany bounced back from their late-game collapse against Italy to win another tight encounter with Nigeria. Center Johannes Voigtmann led the line with 19 points and seven boards while Orlando Magic big man Moritz Wagner scored 17 points in just 12 minutes off the bench.
The Germans were unlucky not to walk away with a win from their contest with Italy. They led for most of the game, however a late 12-0 run from the Italians saw them lose out and are now embroiled in a fight to finish above their fellow Europeans.
So far in the Olympics, Germany have been one of the most-impressive three-point scoring teams. They have shot at 46% from downtown with Andreas Obst and Maodo Lo, who have both taken over seven efforts per game, connecting with 50% of their attempts. With the hope of finishing in the top-two guaranteed spots in the group, this game will by no means be a walkover for the Aussies.
Team News: Germany
An interesting matchup in the game will be between Patty Mills and Maodo Lo. Although the Australian has superior experience of playing at the top level of basketball, Lo was very impressive in Germany's qualifying without Dennis Schroder and has been influential in their two games so far.
The 28-year-old point guard has averaged 18.5 points (team-high) and 6.5 assists so far and should have earned himself another start after his performance against Nigeria. He will no doubt be joined by Andreas Obst in the backcourt who has started both fixtures and scored 12 points in each.
Also Check out: Germany Men's Olympic Basketball Team 2021
Germany's frontcourt has an array of options. So far, Washington Wizards forward Issac Bonga has started both games and should keep his spot, averaging nine points and 6.5 boards. As previously mentioned, center Johannes Voigtmann was dominant in the paint against and will start the third game in a row.
Where there could be change is at the power forward position, with both Danilo Barthel and Johannes Thiemann having each started one game. Barthel has scored more points, though has only grabbed two rebounds so far. If Germany want to compete with Australia's NBA depth, they should target their interior and therefore may go for Thiemann, or even Wagner to start if they want higher scoring.
Germany Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Maodo Lo | Shooting Guard - Andreas Obst | Small Forward - Isaac Bonga | Power Forward - Danilo Barthel | Center - Johannes Voigtmann
Australia vs Germany Prediction
With a lot on the line, this is set to be a very close encounter. Where the game will be won and lost is at the three-point line and in the paint. Both sides have extremely effective shooters from deep but also have some dominant bigs.
Australia will have to use all of their experience to outlast a Germany unit that has been impressive so far and they should do so. This will be a narrow victory for the Aussies, though both sides will no doubt advance, with Germany as one of the best third-placed teams or indeed in second place.
Where to watch Australia vs Germany
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be shown in Australia on Channel Seven, 7two and 7mate. Australian basketball fans can also watch the Games on streaming platform 7Plus.
Eurosport has vast coverage of basketball in Europe, with contests available to view on streaming platforms as well as on TV. In the US, NBC are the sole distributor of Olympic content this summer.