NANJING, China – Veteran Andrew Bogut ran the gauntlet once more at the FIBA World Cup in China as Australia planted one foot in the quarterfinals with an 82-76 victory over the Dominican Republic on Saturday, September 7.
The 34-year-old, a key member of the Golden State Warriors' NBA championship-winning roster in 2015, has been heckled and jeered throughout Australia's successful campaign by Chinese fans angry with a barbed comment about national swimming hero Sun Yang.
There was more of the same in Nanjing, but center Bogut is relishing it and has not been afraid to fan the flames with sarcastic tweets referring to his "Chinese fans."
Bogut had the last laugh once more as the Boomers made it 4 wins out of 4 to close on a spot in the last 8.
But the Australians were pushed all the way by the Dominicans, who have defied expectations despite being the joint-shortest team at the 32-nation tournament.
Patty Mills, the San Antonio Spurs guard who has called this Australian team the country's best ever, was once more central to the win, leading the scoring with 19 points. He also had 9 assists.
The Australians are hoping to finally break their unwanted record of never getting beyond the quarterfinals in 11 previous World Cup appearances.
Bogut, who had 8 points and 6 assists, has been targeted in China after he tweeted in July: "Swimmers who medal vs Sun Yang should break the podiums with hammers."
The tweet, which garnered thousands of interactions, was a cheeky reference to China's triple Olympic champion missing a doping test after a vial of his blood was smashed with a hammer.
Sun was the subject of podium protests by some fellow swimmers – notably Australia's Mack Horton – at the world championships in South Korea in July. – Rappler.com