The Boomers will play for Olympic bronze after letting a 15-point lead slip in a 97-78 semi-final blowout loss to an unrelenting United States.
Chasing a maiden Games men's basketball medal, Australia were flying when Jock Landale's dunk made it 41-26 with five minutes to play in the first half.
But the wheels fell off in a 48-14 run that included 20 straight American points, leaving Australia to face the loser of France and Slovenia in the third-place playoff.
Australia's swarming defence was too much for the US for most of the first half, with Gregg Popovich's side lacking penetration and missing their first nine three-point shots.
Kevin Durant (23 points, nine rebounds) had 15 first-half points to keep the US close though, before Australia blinked and the three-time defending champions lifted.
The US won the third quarter 32-10, Zach Lavine intercepting a Matisse Thybulle pass and running away for an uncontested dunk to finish the term and put an exclamation mark on their dominance.
Boomers coach Brian Goorjian said the addition of Devin Booker, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday, who were playing in the NBA Finals series when Australia beat the US in a warm-up game last month, had transformed the American side.
"We're scrappers and a team that gets the most out of what we've got," he said.
"I loved the way we played; we did it right.
"The problem was, trying to do that for 40 minutes against a team like that."
Earlier Chris Goulding's nine quick points and two Dante Exum triples fuelled the Boomers' sharp start, Exum's assist to Landale leaving the United States scratching their heads for answers at both ends.
Durant had them though and the air quickly left Australia's tyres, with Booker (20 points on 70 per cent shooting) finding range and Holiday (11 points, eight rebounds, eight assists) making life difficult for Patty Mills (15 points, five rebounds, eight assists).
"It was a very good win against another outstanding basketball team with great culture and great tradition," Popovich said.
"They're like a machine and that really bothered us to start the game; they just sliced us and diced us, we looked like we'd never played together before.
"But in the last five minutes (of the half) ... we understood that was what it was going to take to beat a fine team like that."
The US will play the winner between Rudy Gobert's France and Luka Doncic's Slovenia for a fourth-straight gold.
The loser will face Australia in their fifth bronze medal game, five years after their gutting one-point loss to Spain robbed them of a maiden Games medal.
Australian Associated Press