It was a one-man show, just not the man you might have expected.
Brooklyn Nets free-agent addition Patty Mills went off for 42 points as Australia knocked off Slovenia, 107-93, to earn the bronze medal in Tokyo. It’s the first Olympic medal in Australia’s long and storied basketball history.
The Boomers had reached the semifinals at the Olympics four previous times since 1988, but had yet to come away with a medal. They finally earned one in what was their 15th all-time appearance.
Mills’ scoring output is the 10th-highest of all-time at the Olympics, and the second-most ever scored by an Australian player (Eddie Palubinskas scored 48 in Montreal in 1976).
Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic finished with 22 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists in the loss. Australia frustrated Doncic all game long by throwing multiple defenders at him, from Philadelphia 76ers wing Matisse Thybulle to Dante Exum to Mills.
Doncic shot just 7-for-20 from the field and 3-for-13 from the three-point line. He also had 8 turnovers.
Doncic did catch fire midway through the fourth quarter, draining back-to-back threes to draw Slovenia within six with just over four minutes to play. It was part of a run in which he made seven straight shots.
But Australia responded by clamping down on defense, holding Slovenia to just seven points in the final 4:33.
Mills finished with 9 assists to go along with his 42 points. Thybulle racked up 11 points, 5 rebounds and 3 steals.
Utah Jazz forward Joe Ingles scored 16 points and grabbed 9 rebounds for Australia. New San Antonio Spurs signing Jock Landale added 14, and former Cleveland Cavaliers guard and current free agent Dante Exum scored 12.
Slovenia lost for the second straight time after having won 17 straight to begin Luka Doncic’s international career.