Australia rests Andrew Bogut in 25-point blowout of China
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) Andrew Bogut rested his sore left knee against China. His Australian teammates didn't relax without him.
Bogut sat in street clothes on the bench, cheered and even collected basketballs at halftime Friday as Australia, so far the biggest surprise team in the men's Olympic tournament, coasted to its third win by smashing China 93-68.
Bogut badly bruised his knee while playing for Golden State in the NBA Finals and the former No. 1 overall draft pick was given little chance of competing in Rio. However, the 7-foot center, who signed as a free agent with Dallas this summer, worked hard so he could play for his country.
With a favorable matchup against the Chinese, the Aussies decided it was a good time to sit Bogut, who had little time to build up strength or stamina in the weeks before coming to Brazil.
''He's a little bit sore,'' Australian assistant coach and former Chicago Bulls center Luc Longley said. ''He's coming off not playing and an injury. There's a lot of basketball on it, so he just needed rest and we expected that.''
Bogut did not stop for interviews following the day's first game at Carioca Arena. An Australian spokesman said the team was ''managing'' Bogut's knee.
The 31-year-old played 26 minutes in Australia's 98-88 loss to the United States on Wednesday. During the fourth quarter, Bogut, who scored 15 points while banging inside with American big men DeMarcus Cousins and DeAndre Jordan, walked slowly toward the bench after some contact in the lane and sat out the final minutes.
Bogut was engaged throughout the game and spent a portion of halftime looking over the box score. When his teammates finished shooting before the third quarter, Bogut helped corral loose balls on the floor. He didn't favor his knee while dribbling and dropping in a few layups afterward as his teammates stretched along the baseline.
Cameron Bairstow scored 17 points and Aron Baynes 12 against China for the Aussies, who are eyeing their first Olympic medal. Coach Andrej Lemanis also played guards Patty Mills and Matthew Dellavedova less than 20 minutes.
Australia concludes pool play on Sunday against Venezuela, another team it should handle with ease. The tournament's quarterfinals will start on Wednesday and that's when the Aussies will want to have Bogut at full speed - or as close as he can get to it following his injury.
Mills joked he wouldn't mind joining Bogut on the sideline.
''I could use a little rest as well,'' he said.