Baynes: ‘We’ll come out swinging at Team USA’
AUSTRALIAN NBA big man Aron Baynes has vowed the Boomers will physically take it up to Team USA in this week's exhibition games at Marvel Stadium.
The Boomers will meet the US on Thursday and Saturday night in their final hit-outs before heading to the FIBA World Cup in China.
The Phoenix Suns centre said the Boomers would take an attacking mindset into its showdown with the all-conquering Americans.
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"We've got to come out swinging, we can't be on our back foot from the get go," he said.
"Our key to that is the defensive end and setting the tone there.
"We had a couple of good hit-outs there in Perth and now to be back here, it's going to be a measuring stick game for us to see where we're at.
"We're definitely going to use it to improve as well to the point where we're playing great basketball come September 1."
Much has been made of the understrength USA team, with global superstars such as LeBron James, Steph Curry and Kevin Durant all sitting out the exhibition games and the World Cup.
They still feature the likes of All-NBA guard Kemba Walker and Boston forward Jayson Tatum, and Baynes said to expect a fierce response to the negative talk that has surrounded the US side.
"The team the US is bringing in, there are All-Stars, there are future All-Stars," he said.
"I don't know about you but they are pretty good basketball players and I've played with a few of them.
"They're going to come down here and they're going to push us.
"It might even put a chip on their shoulder everyone talking about how they're not as good as they could be.
"At the end of the day, they're coached by probably the greatest coach (Gregg Popovich) to ever do it and it's going to be a tough challenge for us."
The Boomers' World Cup campaign suffered a blow when it was announced on Sunday night that Philadelphia 76ers player Jonah Bolden had withdrawn due to personal reasons.
"He really came along from day one of camp to that second half where he was understanding the system and we're to find his spots and get his shots, so it's a big loss for us," Boomers guard Chris Goulding said yesterday.
"But unfortunately these things happen and there's nothing we can do now, so we wish Jonah all the best."
Kayo will be the only place to watch all 92 games of the FIBA World Cup LIVE and On Demand, with the multi-sport streaming service launching their coverage of the tournament at a media event in Melbourne on Monday.