Boomers coach Andrej Lemanis says Australia had a chance to win against Spain, but could not take their chances in a match that required two overtime periods to separate the teams.
“You certainly can’t question the effort and intensity with which we played and the manor with which we played,” Lemanis said postgame.
“It’s tough to lose, no doubt it’s tough to lose, but Spain is also a good basketball team and played well and it comes down to a couple plays here or there and that’s the way it goes.
We’ll go back and look at the video tape but at the end of the day we had chances to win the game.”
Australia lost 95-88 after leading by 11 in the third term, but ending up 78-78 at the end of normal time after a dubious foul call. Patty Mills missed a foul throw that would have given the Boomers the game.
After a further five minutes the scores were locked at 80 apiece.
In the last five minutes Australia got an early lead, but Spain caught up and pulled away.
Australia will now aim for bronze, playing the loser of the other semi-final between France and Argentina.
Mills had 34 points for Australia, including four from 11 three-pointers. Nic Kay was next-best with 16 points for the Boomers.
Toronto Raptor Marc Gasol top scored with 33 points for Spain.
Australia were left to rue several missed shots in big moments, while regular turnovers also helped the Spanish stay close despite shooting at just 31 per cent in the first half.
A tough foul on Andrew Bogut, eerily similar to events in Rio when Spain pipped Australia by one point to win Olympic bronze, will also sting the Australians as they maintain their search for a maiden international medal.
Marc Gasol taking over in the second overtime to sink the Boomers gold medal hopes.
Lemanis blamed himself for some elements of the loss, saying “perhaps I played some people too long and they were a little tired, but again, at the end of the day I think we had every opportunity to win the game and sometimes it just doesn’t happen for you.”
Spain had an extra 24 hours rest in the lead up to the semi-final, which became a critical factor the longer the game went on.
Dellavedova was forced to head to the sideline with 2:58 left in the second overtime, clutching at his leg with cramp after throwing a cross-court pass in front of the Australian bench.