Shock loss to Brazil the wake-up call the Boomers needed

No-one ever wants a reality check, but sometimes it's needed.

The Australian Boomers went through that mix of emotions on Wednesday evening, learning the hard way that World Cup basketball can be a game of inches - both literally and figuratively - falling 90-86 to a bigger, hotter Brazil in their second warmup game of this campaign.

Brazil looked to have a size advantage - Bruno Caboclo finished with 20 points, 12 rebounds, and five blocks - and bolstered their efforts by heating up from downtown, shooting 16-of-35 from beyond the arc as a team. Josh Giddey had 20 points, 10 rebounds, and four assists for a Boomers team that couldn't find the bottom of the net and had some issues containing an organised Brazilian outfit.

Overreacting is obviously a pointless exercise when gauging results of exhibition games, but some of the Boomers' holes became evident.

The good thing: a lot of those holes can be filled on Thursday

When looking at where the Boomers' deficiencies were in this matchup, you only have to gaze down the bench to see where they can be fixed.

The team looked like it needed big-man depth and more dynamic scoring from the perimeter; the Boomers have that in Jock Landale (ankle), Josh Green (elbow), and Chris Goulding (knee), all of whom missed this matchup due to injury. Landale is Australia's starting centre, and Green and Goulding are two of the team's four best three-point shooters; with Patty Mills and Joe ingles combining for 3-of-17 from downtown, the Boomers could've used some break-in-case-of-emergency scoring options.

"When you look at our eight, and you say we're going to the tournament now, those three guys are in the eight, in that rotation," Goorjian said of Landale, Green, and Goulding.

"Last [game], the small ball was fine - [Venezuela] didn't have any interior - but just having Duop and your back-up centre's really a four-man, we got exposed on that tonight. Having Jock and Duop is gonna help us in that area, and he's a very important piece.

"What did we shoot from the three-point line tonight? I think we were in the 20 percent; international basketball, you've gotta be better than that. We've got something to add to it, and that'll definitely help us."

Both Landale and Green are expected to play on Thursday against South Sudan. Goulding is an "outside chance" to play in that game.

The not-so-good sign

Goorjian pointed to incorporating new pieces as a reason why the Boomers' typical flow wasn't there, and missing some key players also didn't help - for the record, those weren't excuses, just observations - but there were more fundamental issues that were on show.

Namely, Caboclo - not regarded as some renowned, high-level FIBA big - had his way inside the paint against Australia. His size looked really pronounced against the relatively smaller Boomers, and Brazil did a great job finding those mismatches against Australia's switching lineups. Of course, Landale will be added to the group, but what happens when the Boomers face the likes of Lauri Markkanen, Daniel Theis, Mo Wagner, and Johannes Voigtmann in the first group phase in Okinawa? And it's also what those sorts of bigs bring on the other end; Brazil walled up and packed the paint, making it difficult for the Boomers to be effective inside. When the Boomers' shots from the perimeter aren't falling in those situations, what's the fix?

The Boomers needed to have this sort of warmup game, against a well-drilled, organised team, to work those kinks out. The personnel is there, and there's good reason to trust the Boomers' processes to figure things out, but it was a friendly reminder that there are really talented teams across world basketball and the room for error is mightily small, especially in a high-urgency tournament like the World Cup.

"It's understanding what we need to improve on," Nick Kay said postgame.

"We don't have time to play like that again. We've gotta come out and gotta do better. One of our strengths is our mateship, and we didn't exactly cover each other like we should've out there tonight. If we're better at that tomorrow, we'll be better as a group and hopefully get that win."

Goorjian was slightly more blunt.

"Big picture, maybe a little punch in the face right now at this stage isn't a bad thing," he said.

"Helps us back to the reality of how tough this is going to be. We came here to win the game, I coached the game on the sideline; I wasn't just moving bodies around, I was trying to win. That was disappointing, but I now take a deep breath and does it help me with a few things moving forward? For sure.

"That next step to be the best in the world at something is really, really difficult. The culture's been strong, but let's see where we go now with a few punches in the face."

A selection nugget

We likely won't find out until after Thursday's game who from this squad of 13 will be cut ahead of the Boomers' flight to Japan for the World Cup, but we do continue to get some slight indications from Goorjian.

After his 26-point effort against the Venezuelans on Monday, Duop Reath continued to look effective at the five-spot on Wednesday, and the Boomers' head coach all but confirmed he'll be part of the final team.

"Leaning towards bigs," Goorjian said. "We're deep on the perimeter... We're moving towards Duop for sure."

It didn't feel right but Reath's spot on the final team was a legitimate question going into these warmup games but, given the Boomers' struggles against Brazil's bigs on Wednesday, the centre's value has only increased.

Danté Exum, Xavier Cooks, and the potential of a game-changing small ball punch

One of Australia's best stretches in this game was in the second quarter, where a lineup of Dyson Daniels, Danté Exum, Joe Ingles, Jack White, and Xavier Cooks hit the floor. The Boomers were able to run, and the half-court creation largely came from Cooks freelancing at the top.

On the other end, the group was able to switch everything. Brazil took it in stride, expertly finding their bigs on switches and continuing to shoot the lights out, but there were some really good indicators for Australia, showing positive signs of the sort of lineup that could cause some havoc throughout the World Cup.

Cooks was the first player off the bench in this one and brought a needed energy and effort, both defensively and on the offensive glass. Positional versatility is one of the Boomers' big strengths, so it's easy to plug and play different players into that type of small ball lineup.

"The second quarter was our best quarter," Goorjian said.

"I thought the defence up the floor, and taking the ball out of the one-guard's hands really helped us. That was a positive.

"Bigger picture in all of this, I think we need to play Exum more. What's our eight gonna be? Who, over the course of these two games, what are you looking at? He's more than just the backup to Giddey. We need to get him involved in the game more... and maybe play those two together more.

"The switching small-ball lineup helped us; as it went on, and they found the answer to that, they really hit us on the switches with the big around the basket. There's a place for it, for sure, and it's an avenue we can go to no matter who we select."

The Boomers' final warmup game in Australia is on Thursday evening, against South Sudan. Tip-off is at 7:45pm.