Australia-Great Britain Preview
Australia can clinch a spot in the quarterfinals with a victory.
It would also put an early end to Britain's first Olympic men's basketball appearance in 64 years.
Australia looks for a second consecutive win Saturday while host Britain goes for its first at the 2012 Games.
Despite losing to Brazil and Spain to open the preliminary round, Australia (1-2) is in a good position to be one of the four teams to move out of Group B. The Boomers are fourth in the standings following their 81-61 victory over winless China on Thursday.
They trail 2-1 Brazil and undefeated Russia and Spain, both of whom earned quarterfinal spots Thursday with one-point victories.
"Keep it rolling #boomers," Australia leading scorer Patty Mills wrote on his Twitter account after hitting four 3-pointers and finishing with a team-best 20 points versus China.
However, if the Aussies lose to Britain (0-3), that head-to-head win would give the hosts the edge should these teams finish with the same record when group play ends Monday.
Britain can't afford to look at all of the scenarios. The priority is improving an 0-8 all-time record in Olympic play.
Britain, which is participating in the Games for the first time since hosting in 1948, nearly broke through Thursday before losing 79-78 to Spain, the silver medalist in Beijing.
"It was nice to see us making shots and playing with confidence," coach Chris Finch told FIBA's official website after his team hit 5 of 8 from 3-point range in the fourth quarter. "I knew our team would fight all the way through."
The frontcourt of Luol Deng, Joel Freeland and center Pops Mensah-Bonsu hasn't given the British fans a victory, but this trio has put up solid numbers in the preliminary round, averaging a combined 49.7 points and 23.0 rebounds.
Deng leads with 21.3 points per game - fourth in the tournament - after scoring 26 versus Spain.
The All-Star forward might find it difficult to score down low as Australia coach Brett Brown, a San Antonio Spurs assistant, has a solid center rotation with David Andersen, Aron Baynes and Aleks Maric.
Forward Brad Newley, averaging 6.7 points with 5.0 rebounds for the Aussies in the Games, scored a team-high 23 points in a 91-90 overtime victory over Britain on Aug. 21 at the London Invitational Tournament.
Deng scored 26 in the loss, while Freeland added 22.
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