SALT LAKE CITY — Advantage, Joe.
With 6:19 remaining in Australia’s thrilling 100-98 win over France in the second round of FIBA Basketball World Cup, Joe Ingles dribbled around a screen and into the paint where Rudy Gobert was there stalking.
Maybe it was all the practices with the big man, but the crafty Ingles knew just what to do. He quickly scooped the ball high off the glass for a layup as Gobert tried fruitlessly to get to it.
Then Ingles did what Ingles does best: He let Gobert hear about it.
Gobert will probably be hearing about that play — and Monday’s game — for a long time. Ingles finished with 23 points to help Australia get past Gobert’s France and to enter Wednesday’s quarterfinals as the Group L winner.
The win gave Ingles bragging rights against his Jazz teammate, but, more importantly, it positioned the Boomers for what might end up being their first medal at an Olympic Games or World Cup.
By winning the group, Australia will be on the opposite side of the bracket as the United States. The Boomers will play the Czech Republic on Wednesday in the quarters; France will play the Americans.
Rudy's gonna be hearing about this game — and this play — for some time. pic.twitter.com/wmLZjMV7pR— Ryan Miller (@millerjryan) September 9, 2019
Ingles, who had taken more of a facilitator role in the last couple games for Australia, went on the attack Monday. He was 8-of-15 from the field and 3-of-7 from the 3-point line, and his scooping layup over Gobert wasn’t the only time Ingles got the better of his Jazz teammate.
With 2:20 left in the third quarter, Ingles got the ball on the perimeter and pump-faked Gobert as he closed out on the shot. Ingles then stepped to his right and buried a 3-pointer. That play helped wrestle momentum away from the French team. Before that shot, France was on a 14-2 run to build a 70-61 lead — its biggest advantage of the game.
Ingles’ 3-pointer was the first of back-to-back Boomer triples and it set up a fourth quarter that was back and forth the entire way. Ingles had 6 points in the fourth quarter, including a layup with 1:02 remaining that put Australia up by two.
Gobert finished with 8 points on 3-of-4 shooting to go along with six assists and four rebounds. He fouled out with 29 seconds left in the game as he tried to defend Matthew Dellavodova from breaking a tie.
Ok, Rudy... pic.twitter.com/Kfismm1AgJ— Ryan Miller (@millerjryan) September 9, 2019
Gobert flashed some offensive progression at the start of the second half as he posted up Aron Baynes and then hit a rolling left-handed hook shot from the middle of the paint.
United States 89, Brazil 73
Utah fans have grown used to Donovan Mitchell’s big scoring totals to help push the Jazz to victory. But Mitchell hasn’t been putting those types of numbers up for the United States during the World Cup — but when he’s been on the court, the Americans have been at their best.
Mitchell finished with six points, six rebounds and seven assists on Monday in the United States’ 89-73 win over Brazil to wrap up Group K. Not eye-grabbing stats, but Mitchell still tied for the team-high in plus/minus finishing at plus-22 on the game. That has become the norm for the young Jazz star.
Yes, it’s a flawed stat and to suggest the United States would be in trouble without Mitchell seems a bit far fetched, but Mitchell is plus-102 for the tournament — so good things are happening when he’s on the court.
Mitchell once again showed his growth as a playmaker on Monday, leading the team in assists. It's a role that he’s embraced since the beginning, but he might be a little more eager to attack in the quarterfinals against France — if only because who will be down in the paint.
Before the World Cup started, Rudy Gobert had a warning for Mitchell if the two happened to meet in the tournament: “Pass the ball or shoot a really high floater,” Gobert told the New York Times.
“I’ve heard that for two years,” Mitchell said. “We haven’t had the opportunity to meet each other there yet, so we’ll see what happens.”
We’ll all see come Wednesday.