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Serbia Beats Australia 87-61 In Rio Olympics Basketball. Ouch.

We were never in it.

20/08/2016 10:23 AM AEST | Updated 20/08/2016 11:05 AM AEST
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RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 19: Andrew Bogut #6 of Australia reacts with teammates on the bench during the Men's Semifinal match against Serbia on Day 14 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Carioca Arena 1 on August 19, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

What the hell just happened? Did someone spike our water bottles with the potent Brazilian cocktails known as capirinhas? Or did the Boomers just have the off night to end all off nights?

Whatever the case, Australia just lost the Rio 2016 Olympic men's basketball semi-final 87-61 to Serbia, thereby blowing their chance to meet the USA in the final and perhaps, blowing our first ever men's Olympic basketball medal.

Joe Ingles was actually crying at the end. Real tears of real grief at an inexplicably inept performance.

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Hands up who wants to wash that towel?

The best we can now hope for is bronze in the playoff against Spain. Which kind of seems like going out for tapas when what you really wanted was a nice, thick juicy steak.

The Boomers had played so well throughout this Rio 2016 Olympic basketball competition. They really were the talk of the tournament. It wasn't just our established NBA stars like Mills, Bogut and Dellavedova excelling. It was the bench too. Everyone in our squad was contributing in whatever small or large way they could.

Australia has disappointed in the team sports in Rio, with two obvious exceptions. One was our women's rugby team, who won gold with flair, power, grace and humbleness. Our men's basketball team had also showed these qualities until this horrible night.

Perhaps they were due a slightly flat performance. Nobody's on all the time. But good teams have bad days and still manage to win. The way Australia played, they wouldn't have beaten five fat guys in the beer queue.

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They managed to walk off the court without tripping, which was something.

We scored five points in a low-scoring first quarter. Count 'em, five. You only need one hand, which is good, because you needed the other hand to cover your eyes. The Serbian defense played tough and we had no offensive answer.

We were down 14-5 at the first break. Not good, but not the end of the world.

A new quarter, new hope. Nope. Pretty soon we were down 24-10. We just couldn't compete. A Joe Ingles dunk momentarily raised the crowd's voice, and hopes along with it, but our shooting was as directionless as a Rio taxi.

At one stage in the second quarter, Australia had made just six from 24 shots from the floor. Watching the game you thought 'wow, that is truly terrible. A shooting percentage of just 25 percent. But surely it will improve'.

It didn't. We were six from 25, then 26, 27, 28 and eventually ended the first half with just six shots made from 29 attempts. That's a miserable rate of just 21 percent. And we were 21 points down, which seemed about right.

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Out-muscled, out-tatted and out-bearded.

Could we turn things around in the second half?

We scored first through Andrew Bogut, and claimed the first defensive rebound too, through Aron Baynes. Big guys firing. This was good. But Serbia kept scoring.

In a time out break, the big screen at Carioca I arena cut to "muscle cam", as members of the crowd flexed their biceps for the cameras. They would have focused on the Aussies except they didn't have any muscles to flex.

The scoreboard kept ticking. And pretty soon, it was obvious the game was out of reach. At the third break, people started streaming for the exits, or so it appeared. Turned out it was some Rio volunteers throwing free balls to the crowd and the movement was just people racing to a position where they could catch balls. But they needn't have returned to their seats. Not if they wanted to see a contest, anyway.

The fourth quarter was Australia's best, but it changed about as much in the overall scheme of things as a Ryan Lochte apology.

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Serb's ya right, mate.

There was this moment where Matthew Dellavedova hung under the basket, arms one way, arms the other, desperately looking for someone, anyone, to pass the ball to. A Serb eventually stole it. Delly probably should have just given it to him and saved everyone the trouble.

This has been a weird Olympics for Australia. Cate Campbell led her 4 x100m freestyle relay team to a dominant gold medal on the first night of swimming, and you dared to believe huge things were in store in the pool. Then she and her sister Bronte did nothing in the individual 100m race.

Out at the BMX a few hours before the basketball, two Aussie men were unbeaten going into the final. They finished 6th and 8th respectively. Then we came out and won the modern pentathlon, which most people would have guessed was a shape rather than a sport. So it goes. Invest your emotions at your own peril.

Australia plays Spain for bronze on 12:30am Monday (AEST).

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