You would have never been able to tell it was a rainy day in Beijing, China. Inside, it was intense and had a championship atmosphere. On the court, it wasn’t much different. The game started with Yao hitting a three-pointer and the China started out hot. They hit their first four threes and kept pace with Team USA for the first 15 minutes.
Then, Kobe and USA went on a run. Sparked by defensive stops, Team USA seemingly had 5 dunks in a row and opened the game to a 12 point lead going into the half. In the half-court set, Team USA struggled mightily. They had many turnovers and missed just about every three-point attempt. Their offense came on the fast break and off the offensive boards.
First-half notes as I’m watching…
- Wade looks like the 2006 Finals MVP again, hitting fade-away’s and finishing in the paint. He even got a great steal.
- LeBron had an amazing oop dunk from Wade and continues to dominate international basketball.
- Dwight must make his free-throws since he gets fouled almost every time he touches the ball.
- Kobe struggled from outside the paint, and even inside the paint he got blocked by Yao. Hope he has a better second-half.
- Sun Yue, the soon to be Laker matched up against Kobe and played pretty well I thought. He hit a couple big three-pointers and looks to be the perfect role player for the Lakers next year.
- Great Coca-Cola commercial featuring Yao and LeBron.
- NBA on NBC theme song is back!
- China had 4 NBA players on their roster: Yao, Wang ZhiZhi, Yi Jianlian, and Sun Yue.
The second-half was all Team USA. The team played better defense which of course led to tons of fast breaks and easy dunks. Key in the game was the USA defense holding China to only 34% FG’s and forcing 18 turnovers.
Second-half notes as I’m watching…
- Kobe continues to struggle from downtown in the third quarter (1-7 threes). But he sure knows how to dunk.
- Sun Yue with the block!
- Yi Jianlian had an amazing tip dunk off Yao’s missed jumper.
- Team USA outscores China 25-11 in the third quarter.
- Yao gets hurt briefly, but comes back strong. It is great to see him healthy again.
- China is down 32 with 3 minutes to go and fans still go crazy when they score. If this was L.A., the stadium would be empty.
Now, the bests of the day…
Top 3 Team U.S.A. Performers -
1) Wade looked AMAZING today. He did not miss a shot and basically played flawless basketball. 19 points on 7-7 FG’s.
2) LeBron had 18 points on 8-12 shooting. He played great on both ends, especially with his 3 blocks.
3) Chris Paul did just what Team USA needed off the bench. 6 assists and 2 steals.
Team USA Smush of the Day (Note: STD denotes the Laker that played the poorest): Carmelo didn’t look too good today. Didn’t make a FG all game.
Key Play of the Game: LeBron’s one handed alley-oop dunk from Wade on the break.
What to Look for Next Game:Look for an easy win vs. Angola as the team looks to get some better completion later in the week.
Game is Monday @ 5:00 AM (unless tape delayed?) on NBC.