Bogut, Aussies clutch and grab to prelim win over Yao, Yi and China

Yao Ming and Andrew BogutHey, those Aussie’s play rough. True to his word about how the Australia Boomers Olympic squad was going to play in the Beijing Olympics, Bucks center Andrew Bogut and team “junked” their way to a 67-55 win over Yao Ming, Yia Jianlian and China in an Olympic warm up game early this morning. Let’s go to an Aussie news report on the game from Nanjing, China at

“In a heated match marred by the occasional scuffle and some bruising screens, the Boomers prevailed by 12 points in a preview of what they can expect in Beijing next month.

Yao shaded [transliation: slightly outplayed] Australia’s Andrew Bogut in the battle of NBA big men, but the visitors showed enough composure down the stretch to get off to the best possible start in the six-nation tournament and disappoint a vocal home crowd.

Yao finished with 14 points and seven boards, while Bogut had nine points and eight rebounds.”

Plus two blocks and an “unsportsmanlike foul” wrapping up Yao, which is what the above photo is all about.

This was just the sort of grappling “junk”-style zone play that Bogut, in town earlier this month to sign his contract, said fans should expect from the Aussie team. From

“Our big guys are pretty formidable,” Bogut said, referring to teammates David Andersen and Chris Anstey.  “We have to play a different style than the Europeans. We’re definitely not going to win games playing a halfcourt style, so we’re going to have to try to junk the game up. We have to try to do a lot of zone and man trapping and all that type of stuff. That’s the way we won a (world) gold medal as a junior. We have no chance playing European basketball against the Europeans.” (Watch the video from the contract-signing press conference here.)

In its game report, compared the Aussies to the 1980’s Pistons. Two unsportsmanlike fouls were called on the Boomers before it was done. China committed 23 turnovers and let the Aussie’s rough play “get into their heads,” wrote Dimemag’s Andrew Katz.

In case you were wondering, former Buck Yi Jianlian was 0-3 from the floor and did not score. Yi added 4 rebs in 24 mins. “A loss like this doesn’t do much to dispel the looming ‘soft’ label pinned to both Yao’s and Yi’s chests,” wagged Katz.

Back to the Aussie press, Bogut is getting rave reviews from his teammates, who say he’s improved “out of sight” since they last played with their center in the 2006 World Championship games. This from Boomers veteran Antsey:

“I think we’re pretty tough and we’ve got a lot of international experience which is something we haven’t had a lot of in the past. Adding Bogut to the team adds a whole other level. He’s gone up a level since the world championships (in 2006). He’s just a presence and he’s worth that $60 million. He’s improved out of sight so it’s exciting to have him on the team.”

Next up for the Aussies (oops, after this warm up tournament) is a prelim Aug. 5 against Lebron, Kobe, Michael Redd and Team USA, which plays tomorrow morning against Turkey and Ersan Ilyasova – still the NBA property of the Milwaukee Bucks. After playing in 66 games for the Bucks during the forgettable 2006-07 season (sorry about that), Ilyasova jumped to the Spanish League’s AXA FC Barcelona for last season. He hasn’t missed much in Milwaukee.

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