Washington Post: The focused look on Kobe Bryant’s face before the U.S. men’s basketball team tipped off Tuesday gave some indication of what was in store for Puerto Rico: The Americans weren’t about to let another inferior opponent hang around longer than necessary.
The United States had learned its lesson Monday night against Mexico. Although the Americans won by 27 points, they were disappointed in their overall effort, blaming everything from tired legs to the sparse crowd for their lack of energy.
That wasn’t the case against Puerto Rico, as the U.S. team got back to playing suffocating defense and efficient offense and won, 117-78, to clinch a spot in Saturday’s semifinals.
For the first time in this Olympic qualifying tournament, a player other than Carmelo Anthony led the United States in scoring, as LeBron James had a game-high 21 points. Anthony had 17 points, Michael Redd 15, Bryant 14 and Amare Stoudemire pitched in with 12 points and a game-high eight rebounds as the Americans improved to 32-0 all-time in this tournament.
The United States will play Uruguay on Wednesday and conclude the second round Thursday against Argentina, the only other unbeaten team in the tournament.