That was ugly.
Like, really ugly.
The Australian Boomers opened up their Tokyo Olympics campaign with one of the sloppiest performances you'll see on a basketball court. Thankfully, their opponents were even sloppier.
Brian Goorjian's team continued its defence-first mentality to pick up the 84-67 win over a junky Nigeria, allowing just 25 second-half points to run away with a game that both sides would probably love to forget.
In what was a contest that was difficult to watch, there were still positive signs and indicators to walk away with, so here are some takeaways from the Boomers' opening game.
Australia dodged a bullet
It's not often a team can turn the ball over 22 times, give up 24 free throws, and still get the win. That's what the Boomers just did.
Yes, it ended up being a 17-point win for the Boomers, but this one had the potential to get away from them. Against a team that's more organised, Australia can't give up the sorts of sloppy turnovers we saw against Nigeria, because a group that's been together for a decent amount of time would be able to make them pay for it.
The Boomers' defensive adjustments in the second half won them this game, and they were able to stretch out their lead, but it would've been a lot closer if Nigeria made their free throws and took advantage in a more imposing way of Australia's uncharacteristic lack of care for the ball.
Boomers Patty is still this team's heartbeat
It's the one thing you can always count on in any Boomers campaign: Patty Mills showing up.
He's been Australia's best and most productive player over the past decade, and that hasn't changed in Tokyo, with the guard dropping 25 points, including 5-of-8 shooting from downtown.
Mills, Australia's flag-bearer in the opening ceremony, did his work in a variety of ways. Against a switchy Nigeria team, he attacked those mismatches, creating separation for good looks at the three, and moved extremely well off the ball to open up passing opportunities for his teammates.
When it comes to Boomers basketball, Mills remains as reliable as ever.
Australia can't be scared to keep running
The first few minutes of the opening quarter is an example of what Australia has the potential to do against those older, half-court-focused European teams down the stretch in this tournament.
The Boomers' ball pressure was tremendous all game, and that led to a ton of live ball turnovers. What's new for the Boomers is the personnel; Danté Exum will push the ball and put pressure on the rim, Matisse Thybulle can run all day, and Mills remains a three-point threat in semi-transition.
Against a long and athletic Nigerian team, the Boomers weren't able to take full advantage of their ability to run-and-gun, but against, say, Italy or Germany -- Australia's other Group B opponents -- it'll be a way to get easy points on the board.
Australia's half-court offence still looks like a work in progress, so those baskets in transition could be crucial as the Olympics continues.
Danté Exum showed off enormous value
Matthew Dellavedova hit some shots, but he still looks largely underdone as a creator and penetrator, and that's why Exum's value is huge.
Sometimes at the risk of hurting himself -- Australia holds its collective breath any time he hits the floor -- Exum remains extremely aggressive, putting a whole lot of pressure on the rim, which creates opportunities for himself and others. He's the perimeter player on the Boomers who can most effectively turn the corner off a ball screen, and that ability to create advantages is huge for a team that's still figuring things out in the half-court.
Of course, his ability to grab and go is also extremely valuable for the Boomers, who have the types of wing athletes to run alongside him.
Josh Green has earned more minutes
There's a portion of the Boomers' rotation that's set in stone, and then there are segments of the bench group whose minutes are still malleable; dependent on a mixture of form and matchups. That's particularly in the case in the backcourt, and Josh Green sure made a good case for more minutes as these Olympics continue.
Green checked in midway through the third quarter, and was effective enough to stay on the floor until the period finished. A Goorjian team always has a player whose directive is to be a pest on the defensive end: pick up full court and get up and in the opponent's lead guard.
The youngest Boomer did just that, not allowing the Nigerians to get into their sets until the 13 or 14-second mark on the shot-clock, and providing impressive energy on both ends of the floor. When any of Australia's primary wing players need a rest, Green just made a convincing argument that he deserves to be on the floor.