RIO 2016: It's a great time for Australian basketball

WE MIGHT not have won the game, but Australia's performance against the USA's Dream Team was incredible.

The Dream Team are considered the untouchables.

In a perfect world, they are the cream of the NBA's crop: the names you know without knowing their history, franchise or attributes (everyone knows who LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan are).

The Boomers are past the time when we were world basketball's battlers.

Andrew Bogut, Matthew Dellavedova, Patrick Mills, Joe Ingles, Aron Baynes, Cameron Bairstow all boast contracts in the world's biggest competition - the first three have NBA rings.

The Boomers fell to the USA by eight points, which doubles as their first loss of this Olympic campaign, but the closeness of the bout shows just how far Australian basketball has come.

We are yet to win a medal in men's basketball, but we have reached the bronze medal match on three occasions (1988, 1996 and 2000).

That looks likely to change at Rio should they continue to perform to their best.

Admittedly, I haven't taken a huge interest in basketball since the Western Sydney Razorbacks tore up the Whitlam Centre in Sydney's south west in the late-1990s.

That has changed in the last few years as Mills, Bogut and Dellavedova reached the pinnacle of the NBA.

I couldn't take my eyes off the TV this mornings as Bogut, Delly and co. fought their way to a half-time lead, and did all the could until the final hooter to secure an improbable victory.

An Olympic medal will be the ultimate, and if Australia can works its way into another showdown with the USA for the gold medal it will be a moment to savour.

What could make that moment better?

Our Opals standing atop the women's basketball podium.

They have won all three of their three games so far and look likely to top Group A while USA, Canada and Spain are in a three-way tangle in Group B.



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