Basketball: Jovial Bogut shines as Australia beat France – Metro US

Basketball: Jovial Bogut shines as Australia beat France

By Steve Keating

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Andrew Bogut’s complaints over his Rio accommodation have received more attention than his troublesome knee but both seemed fine on Saturday as Australia opened the Rio Games men’s basketball tournament with an 87-66 win over France.

Bogut, who has been waging a battle to get back to full fitness since the Golden State Warriors center went down with a knee injury during the NBA Finals in June, looked strong as he poured in 18 points while dominating the paint.

“I didn’t know I’d have that kind of an impact in the first game,” Bogut told reporters. “We haven’t done anything yet. We have absolutely not done anything.”

With twice defending Olympic champions the United States also in Group A, the opening matchup took on immediate significance for both fifth-ranked France and 11th-ranked Australia, two teams with medal ambitions.

If Australia are to do anything in Rio, however, they will need more contributions from Bogut, who is competing at his third Olympics.

While some of his countrymen like golfers Jason Day and Adam Scott decided not to compete in Rio, Bogut has put in a super human effort just to get another shot at an Olympic medal, according to his team mates.

“When I saw him go down I didn’t think he would be playing that was my first thought,” said Matthew Dellavedova, a member of the NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers who watched his compatriot injure his knee in Game Five of the best-of-seven series.

“I was disappointed to see him go down, he’s done a hell of a lot of work to get himself healthy. We’re just happy to have him out there, it makes a huge difference.”

The first Australian to be taken with the number one pick in the NBA draft, Bogut was all smiles as he left the court despite heading back to the athletes village.

Bogut, who won an NBA championship in 2015 with the Warriors, has been vocal in tweeting complaints over conditions in the village under the hashtag #IOCLuxuryLodging, commenting on the tight space between the beds in rooms and the lack of shower curtains.

But he was in playful mood after an opening win, the 6-foot, 9-inch (2.05m) giant walking away from the mixed zone while putting his arm around a small official escorting him to doping control.

“So you’re the guy who is going to watch me pee,” he said.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

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