Booed Bogut embracing super villain role
ANDREW Bogut is public enemy No.1 in China and he loves it.
Local fans booed the Aussie centre mercilessly in the Boomers' opening 108-92 basketball World Cup victory over Canada on Sunday, in response to Bogut weighing into the debate around controversial Chinese swimmer Sun Yang.
"Swimmers who medal vs Sun Yang should break the podiums with hammers......." Bogut tweeted in July after Australia's Mack Horton refused to share the medal dias with the Chinese swimmer at the world championships.
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After copping a barrage of online criticism from fanatical supporters, Bogut flew out to China last week, declaring "I look forward to seeing all my Chinese fans".
Despite going into the game with a right ankle injury, Bogut scored 12 points and had nine rebounds in 19 minutes against the Canadians in Dongguan.
The Sydney Kings marquee man was booed every time he touched the ball while the supporters cheered when he made a mistake or was benched.
Boomers coach Andrej Lemanis isn't too worried about the hot reception for his star big man.
Great to catchup with all my fans in China!!! 🙌👍💪 pic.twitter.com/Q1Be3FeW17— Andrew Bogut (@andrewbogut) September 2, 2019
"I don't think it affects us at all really," Lemanis said.
"You kind of half notice it during the game but there is just general noise in the stands.
"Every game you play there are passionate fans.
"When we play the Lithuanians there will be the guys with the drums and the whistles when we have the ball.
"It just adds to the atmosphere of the tournament, which is fun.
"But I certainly don't think (the Bogut boos) are a distraction."
Boomers guard Chris Goulding agrees.
"I didn't really notice it until late when I was on the bench," Goulding said.
Bogut will look to continue his form when the Boomers take on Senegal in their second World Cup game on Tuesday from 5.30pm (AEST).
It came as Boomers veteran Patty Mills hit back at critics who questioned Matthew Dellavedova's new shooting stroke, saying his teammate was just saving his best for World Cup.
Dellavedova dropped a game-high 24 points in Sunday's record-breaking win over Canada, including six of 10 from beyond the arc. He became the first Australian since Andrew Gaze in 1998 to score 20+ points, 5+rebounds and 5+assists in a World Cup game
.The Cleveland Cavaliers guard then capped off a perfect night by announcing via Twitter that he and his wife are expecting a baby boy.
Mills praised Dellavedova for sticking solid with his new shooting stroke despite it being questioned by some critics during Australia's World Cup warm-up matches.
"He was just saving them all up for this tournament," he said.
"I don't know what all the criticism was because it was a smart move.
"But it's good for him to come out and play with confidence to be able to do what Delly does.
"The scramble, getting to people defensively and that rolls over to his offence.
"It was good to see some of his shots go down.
"But everyone executed their game to a tee against Canada and we are going to have to keep building on that.
"It is going to take all of us to get to where we want to be."
There were plenty of firsts for the Boomers to enjoy in the Canada victory.
The 108 points were the most in a single game in the history of the tournament.
Joe Ingles dished out 10 assists, the most in a game by an Australian player since assists became part of the boxscore in 1994, and the team had 24 assists, another national record.
Mills, though, stressed the Boomers still have a lot to prove.
"We are not satisfied at all," he said.
"Obviously it's good to get the first one but we are on a mission here to be able to achieve something that we've never done before and win a medal.
"This is a business trip for us. We understand that and we are locked in and focused on what we are trying to do."
If Australia beat Senegal on Tuesday and Canada loses to Lithuania, the Boomers will qualify for the second round.
But if Canada defeats Lithuania, the Aussies may have to rely on for and against to progress.
Australia play Senegal on Tuesday from 5.30pm before their final group game against Lithuania on Thursday from 9.30pm (AEST).