U.S.A.-Australia: The recap

Nick Friedell
August 20, 2008

The Americans outscored the Australians 34-18 in the third quarter, as they coasted to a 116-85 victory. Kobe Bryant led the U.S. with 25 points and five rebounds while LeBron James finished with 16 points and nine boards of his own. The Aussies hung tough throughout most of the first-half but as been the case throughout this tournament, Team U.S.A. pulled away in the third quarter. After struggling to find a rhythm from behind the arc in the first-half, Bryant and company hit 9 of their 16 three-point attempts to close out the game. Coach Mike Krzyzewski must have continued to preach defense at halftime, because his team seemed to turn up the pressure a little more after the break.

It's going to take a miracle for any team to beat the United States. The Americans are the most athletic team in the history of Olympic basketball, and they are playing too well right now to be stopped. If Team U.S.A. is going to be tested at all during this tournament, it figures to come in their next game, against the winner of Argentina/Greece. As you'll recall, Argentina was the team that beat the U.S. in the semifinals in Athens four years ago. You know that James and the other players who were on that '04 team will be looking for some payback.

It's clear that the decision by Jerry Colangelo to make the U.S.A. Basketball players agree to a three-year commitment has already paid off. In '04, even when the team won, they looked discombobulated. Now the team gets better as the games wear on, because they are used to playing with one another. If the U.S. takes care of business in the next two games, and wins the gold medal, Colangelo deserves a lot of the credit.

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