Senegal's Momar Ndoye (L) fights for the ball with Australia's Andrew Bogut during the Basketball World Cup Group H game between Australia and Senegal in Dongguan September 3, 2019. (Photo by Ye Aung Thu / AFP)
Senegal's Momar Ndoye (L) fights for the ball with Australia's Andrew Bogut during the Basketball World Cup Group H game between Australia and Senegal in Dongguan September 3, 2019. (Photo by Ye Aung Thu / AFP)

Bogut silent on Chinese haters

BOOMERS big man Andrew Bogut refused to weigh into his running battle with the Chinese fans at the Basketball World Cup, who continued their booing tirade at him throughout Tuesday night's (AEST) win over Senegal.

Local fans in Dongguan started to boo Bogut in the Boomers' opening victory against Canada, in response to him contributing to the debate around controversial Chinese swimmer Sun Yang via Twitter.

"Swimmers who medal vs Sun Yang should break the podiums with hammers," Bogut tweeted in July after Australia's Mack Horton refused to share the medal dais with the Chinese swimmer at the world championships.

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After copping a barrage of online criticism from fanatical supporters, Bogut flew out to China last week, declaring: "I look forward to seeing all my Chinese fans."

The Sydney Kings centre is happy to play along with the banter. He even posted a picture with some of his Chinese fans at Australia's team hotel this week.

Asked how he is enjoying the extra support that he has been receiving in China, Bogut was blunt:

"It's great - next question."

Bogut was more than happy to talk about the Boomers' substandard win over Senegal.

"We stank it up and we were fortunate to get a win," he said.

"We didn't play well and it was a bit of a wake-up call.

"But there are more important things than that game.

"We've got a few guys banged up at the moment, so we've got to get those guys healthy."

Bogut knows the Boomers must dramatically improve to beat Lithuania on Thursday night (9.30pm AEST).

Andrew Bogut of Australia dunks the ball during the 2019 FIBA World Cup, first round match between Australia and Senegal. Picture: Zhizhao Wu/Getty Images
Andrew Bogut of Australia dunks the ball during the 2019 FIBA World Cup, first round match between Australia and Senegal. Picture: Zhizhao Wu/Getty Images

The Lithuanians ended Canada's World Cup campaign on Tuesday night with a comprehensive 92-69 win.

Lithuania play a disciplined style of basketball at both ends of the floor.

NBA big men Domantas Sabonis (Indiana Pacers) and Jonas Valanciunas (Memphis Grizzlies) form a potent front-court presence.

The battle between Sabonis/Valanciunas and Boomers trio Bogut, Aron Baynes and Jock Landale will be fascinating to watch.

"Lithuania is probably playing some of the best basketball of the tournament, at least in their first game against Senegal," Bogut said.

"It will be a tough match-up.

"They have got a good rotation, they have got a bunch of different rotation problems and guys who can shoot threes at the five spot, which we haven't had in the first two games.

"It puts Baynes and myself in a bit of a bind but we are going to watch some film and adjust."

Domantas Sabonis of Lithuania is a potent inside presence and score from outside too. Picture: Zhizhao Wu/Getty Images
Domantas Sabonis of Lithuania is a potent inside presence and score from outside too. Picture: Zhizhao Wu/Getty Images

Australia have progressed to the second round but their final Group H clash against Lithuania is hugely important.

If the Boomers lose to the Lithuanians, it will place pressure on them to progress to the quarter-finals heading into the second round versus France and the Dominican Republic.

Bogut is remaining optimistic about Australia's chances of going deep in the World Cup.

"We are nowhere near (our best) yet," he said.

"If we were there today, then that would be a problem.

"We want to peak towards the end of the tournament.

"We still have work to do. We are still tinkering with our four/five line-ups at times.

"We also have a lot of guys who haven't played much together.

"Jock (Landale) and Nick Kay haven't played a lot with us, so it is going to take a little bit longer than we anticipated."