Serbia was ready for the stage — it played its best game of the Olympics.
Australia was not. Whether the moment was too big, or they were looking past a team they beat in pool play to a possible rematch with the USA, the Boomers came out flat-footed. And they couldn’t shoot — they hit just 4-of-31 from three.
The result was a blowout from the opening tip that Serbia won 87-61 to advance to the gold medal game and set up their own rematch with the Americans. Australia will go for its first-ever basketball medal Sunday in the bronze medal game against Spain.
Point guard Milos Teodosic led Serbia from the start — he scored six of their first 12 points and finished the night with 22 points and five assists. He is going to be a handful for the USA on Sunday, Teodosic gave them fits in group play. Stefan Markovic added 14 points for Serbia, while Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets had 11 rebounds.
For those that don’t remember, Serbia was the USA’s toughest game in group play — the Americans won by three, ut Sacramento-bound Bogdan Bogdanovic got a wide-open three to tie the game at the buzzer, but it rimmed out. The USA raced out to a 9-0 lead in that game and eventually led 23-5, but then got incredibly sloppy on both ends. Serbia outscored the USA 86-71 the rest of the way.
Serbia is playing better than they did in that game, and they are used to the big stage — they played the USA in the 2014 World Championship finals.
If the USA plays with the defensive focus they had against Spain they should be fine, but let up at all and Serbia can make them pay. In Silver.