I'd say this game turned out to be exactly as most people expected. The Americans looked tight at the beginning and struggled to get things going early. The Chinese on the other hand, came out firing and made the game close until almost halftime.
The difference at the end in my mind was the depth the U.S. squad had. There is no team in the world that is as talented as the Americans are from 1-12 on the roster. In the second half, the Chinese looked extremely tired, while the Americans subbed players in and out at will.
One of the players who came in and made a huge difference for the Americans was Dwyane Wade. He led all scorers with 19 points and his defensive intesnsity in the second quarter helped give the U.S. some much needed momentum. He looks like the player who led the Heat to the NBA title in '06.
I can't tell you how much different it was watching this game, as compared to watching the Americans' first contest in the '04 Games. I attended the game in Athens, and watched in disbelief as Larry Brown seemingly refused to use most of the young players on his bench during that intiial game against Puerto Rico (and all other games in that tournament). Four years later, Coach K's roster is more experienced, but it doesn't seem like he is afraid to use anybody, as Brown was in '04.
A few other notes after the jump ...
--After going 1-for-12 from the three-point line in the first-half, the American went 6-for-12 from behind the arc in the second.
--The Americans should look to run whenever they can. This team might have more athletic ability than any basketball team ever assembled.
--Yao came out as pumped up as I have ever seen him (which is understandable) but he can't do everything by himself. He looked exhausted towards the end of the game.
--LeBron James showed everybody why he is one of the top two basketball players in the world. James had 18 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 blocks. He was the most consistent defensive player on the floor the Americans.
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