USA defeats Australia, yet poor free throw and 3 point shooting is a concern

This one wasn’t pretty, but a win none the less. Team USA wins 5 straight exibition games… now the real games begin.

ESPN: Undefeated, but no longer unchallenged.

The U.S. Olympic basketball team wrapped up its exhibition schedule with its toughest test, pulling away to beat Australia 87-76 Tuesday night in its final game before heading to Beijing.

The United States led by only four points nearly halfway through the third quarter and was up by seven midway through the fourth against an Australian team that was resting its best player, Milwaukee Bucks center Andrew Bogut.

The Americans relied on an aggressive defensive effort to overcome a horrendous night from 3-point range and the free-throw line, the same areas that proved costly in their semifinal loss to Greece in the world championships two years ago.

“I think we made it a little harder on ourselves by not moving the ball around as much,” Dwyane Wade said. “We didn’t make our outside shots tonight as well as we’ve been in the past, but at the end of the day we won the ballgame. We found a way to win.”

Wade scored 22 points and LeBron James had 16 for the Americans, who finished 3-of-18 from 3-point range and 20-of-33 (61 percent) at the foul line.

Patrick Mills and Chris Anstey, who had a first-half altercation with Wade, each scored 13 points for Australia.

“In the third quarter they knocked down some big shots and I think that got them back in the ballgame,” Kobe Bryant said. “And for us, we have to understand that that’s going to happen from time to time and it’s important to keep our poise, keep our composure and buckle down.”

The U.S. team seemed in control after allowing one basket in the final 5½ minutes of the first half to open a 44-29 lead. But the Americans left that defensive intensity in the locker room, allowing a number of open 3-pointers and uncontested drives to the basket.

“We came out lazy,” Wade said.

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Chris Manning is a co-owner and video producer for TheLakersNation.com. In addition to his "LD2k" fan-video productions, Chris is working as the "Production Manager" for HS3; A Digital, Brand Strategy and Marketing company based in L.A. which represents the digital entities of numerous high-profile athletes. You can follow him on Twitter for a wide array of sports/Lakers talk!
  • allan

    is anyone else bothered by the camera? they always show highlights during the actual game and do close-ups of people while there’s still action going on.

  • 123KID

    i dont think its a big concern when its only exhibition games. you gotta save up game plans, strategies, defensive schemes and other things for the actual games. but, it does help them to keep remembering that every team is still tryna come after them.

  • xtro

    No worries. Kobe is there.

  • daboss1849

    They should have brought LO on the Olympic team He can brick a 3 like no one else can…LOL

  • PeanutButterSpread

    I don’t think the Team USA that has been playing in these exhibition game is the “real” Team USA. At least, I get the feeling like they just want the real games to start before they really buckle down and play hard and play smart. They’re relying too much on stealing the ball as “defense” which usually just ends up in foul trouble. Australia really shouldn’t have been hanging around the game at all, especially without their star player.

    I also don’t think Coach K’s “system” is that great, or maybe he’s just trying different lineups using the exhibition games as guinea pigs – or maybe he’s just an overrated coach – I don’t want to jump to that statement, so maybe after Team USA plays China I’ll make my assessment, but I still think a college coach should be coaching an Olympic team.

    Then again, this could attribute to Team USA’s dire shooting, which happens, but if the 3s aren’t going in, then look for the big men and run your offense. Stop relying on jump shots – that’s just lazy – something all “great” offense teams tend to do *cough* my Lakers *cough* Again, team defense wins championships, and team defense will win the gold.

  • PeanutButterSpread

    “I still think a college coach should be coaching an Olympic team”

    *shouldn’t

    is what I meant to say

    Also, I get the feeling that Team USA is playing these exhibition games like they’re All Star games, unlike last summer when all of them were trying to prove they could capture the gold.

    Well, hopefully once the Olympics start, Team USA’s motivation will be more apparent. They’re getting a little sloppy with the offense and their defense is reminding sorely of the Nugget’s defense.

  • Phant0M

    not funny boss

  • DCLAKER

    When we gonna get some more LAKER NEWS,these lil’ post are gettin’ boring.