Rio Olympics: Perth Wildcats’ Damian Martin stars again as Boomers beat China in men’s basketball

Damian Martin charges for the Boomers against China at the Rio Olympics. Picture: Getty Images.
Damian Martin charges for the Boomers against China at the Rio Olympics. Picture: Getty Images.

MELVILLE’S Damian Martin’s defensive prowess helped Australia seal second position in Group A with a 93 – 68 victory over China in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The Perth Wildcats’ captain played the majority of the second half, making the most of his 16 minutes to register three assists, an offensive board and one beautiful rainbow triple.

But it was the defensive end where Martin was at his most influential, harassing China’s guards with relentless on ball pressure to generate numerous turnovers, including two steals.

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The Melville resident was introduced late in the second quarter with the Boomers ahead 33 – 29 and China ticking along nicely shooting 60 per cent from the field.

That quickly changed with Martin on the court, with Australia becoming noticeably more energetic on defence to ignite a 12-5 run and take a 44 – 34 lead into the half-time break.

Martin replaced Matthew Dellavedova early in the third quarter and seamlessly slotted into the Boomers offence, finding big man Brock Motum for an assist before drilling a wide open three, his second of the tournament.

He followed that with a trademark steal, Motum fouled on the resultant fast break and hitting one of his two free throws to push the lead out to 59 – 43.

With China’s shooting efficiency plummeting in the face of Australia’s reinvigorated defence, the Boomers raced out to a 65 – 50 lead at three quarter time before completing the rout with a dominant 28 – 18 final term.

Andrew Bogut sat out the clash after appearing to struggle with his knee down the stretch against the US in game three.

Centre David Andersen started in his absence and scored 12 points, fellow talls Cameron Bairstow (17), Brock Motum (15), Aron Baynes (12) and Ryan Broekhoff (12) all reaching double digits.

In reduced game time, guards Patty Mills and Dellavedova were far quieter than usual, although Delly did still contribute eight assists.

China was led by Yi Jianlian who finished the game with 20 points and nine rebounds.

Australia’s final group game is against Venezuela at 6am on Monday morning, although the result is irrelevant with the Boomers already assured of second in Group A behind the US.