The United State is now just two wins away from the Gold medal after demolishing Australia in a game that opened with a first half where just about everything went wrong for the Americans until a last second three, and they were still up nine before a three-pointer by Deron Williams put them up 12 headed into the break.
Back-to-back threes to open the third quarter pretty much sealed the deal, as the US opened the third quarter on a 14-0 run to blow the game out (sadly, during the run, Andrew Bogut got hurt).
Here are some interesting notes from the game:
* Lebron James is amazing. He made about three absolutely dynamic plays, including a stunning example of stick-to-it-ness, when Lebron knocks the ball away from an Australian player, the ball is loose and an Australian recovers but Lebron knocks the ball away again and then in a loose ball scramble, the ball is batted back towards the sidelines, where Lebron runs after it, and when he realizes he is not going to get it, dives and taps the ball to a teammmate before he falls out of bounds. Just an amazing show of effort from the one player in the NBA who can dominate sometimes seemingly without effort.
* Offensively, Lebron had some crazy moves around the rim, too.
* Kobe is going to get a lot of attention for scoring so many points (25), but he really did not turn it on until the game was out of reach, so I don’t think he was that impressive – it was nice seeing him hit some outside shots, though. And he did make some amazing moves around the rim. Still, Lebron is clearly the best player on this team (and in a lot of ways, it seems like he gets treated like the leader, too, which is amazing when you have Jason Kidd and Kobe Bryant on your team).
* Doug Collins’ son looks weird – it was like the guy had a snout instead of a nose.
* The US opened the game 2 out of 12 from three point land and 10 for 20 from the charity stripe, and they were up 9 points. Wow.
* Part of that lead was the fact that they absolutely dominated on the glass – at one point, the US had 13 offensive rebounds to Australia’s 12 total rebounds.
* In any event, the United States once again show their huge weaknesses – outside shooting and free throw shooting, but once again, it doesn’t seem to end up mattering much.
In the other two early games, China played Lithuania tight at the beginning, but eventually they pulled away to blow China out.
Spain and Croatia played an ugggggggly game that Spain won easily.
I missed the last game between Greece and Argentina (it’s too bad, too, as it promised to be a great game), but Owen was kind enough to do the following write-up:
Amazing game between Argentina and Greece. It was close all the way.
Manu scored the last seven points for Argentina and had an unbelievable fast break block, but missed a three pointer with ten seconds left that would have clinched it. Spanoulis came back the other way and narrowly missed a three pointer that would have won the game for Greece.
Carlos Delfino was the main story the rest of the game, 23 points on 9-14 shooting with 5 three pointers. He was unbelievable. He will have to be against the Americans. The Argentines are not the same team they were four years ago. Nocioni is hurt, they don’t have any depth, all their players are that much older. But Delfino and Manu are a very potent duo. They went 11-21 from three for the ARgentines, who were 14-32 from three. i also like their point guard, Prigioni, who had five steals and six rebounds, and has posted a Calderon-esque ast/to ratio in the tourney.
If this game was any indication, the Argentines will take a high vol approach and just bomb away from three. It will be a stern test for the US’ newly vaunted perimeter defense. Still, the Americans should be able to beat this team pretty easily.
Two notes: I love Manu. I always have, I always will. The guy loves playing for his country. What he accomplished in 2004 tops what any player since Jordan has accomplished in my book. And a great great interview. So much passion for the cause.
Second note – Mike D’Antoni was qouted in the broadcast as saying the Greek guards were much better than Argentina’s. Interesting analysis to say the least…