Saturday , Sep , 01 , 2007 Oly Sandor

Beijing Bound: Carmelo Athony, Kobe Bryant, & Team USA Qualify For Olympics With Win Over Puerto Rico.

A few of life’s certainties: death, taxes, and Team USA succeeding at the 2007 FIBA Americas Tournament. Stars and Stripes officially joined death and taxes on Saturday, beating Puerto Rico 135-91 in the semi-finals to earn a birth in next year’s Beijing Olympics …

A few of life’s certainties: death, taxes, and Team USA succeeding at the 2007 FIBA Americas Tournament. Stars and Stripes officially joined death and taxes on Saturday, beating Puerto Rico 135-91 in the semi-finals to earn a birth in next year’s Beijing Olympics.

Sure, the first-half was close. And, sure, Puerto Rico had a tiny measure of success containing the Team USA machine with a soft zone. But the United States are heading to the Olympics, so the first part of their mission is complete.

Here are my observations:

  • Give Puerto Rico their due. They played a strong first-half and made the game somewhat interesting by slowing the tempo with a zone. Still, Jason Kidd made Puerto Rico pay, hitting most of his shots against their sagging defense.
  • Some have questioned my view that LeBron James is a facilitator. Watch last night’s game. King James is at his best when creating for others.
  • I’m normally not a fan of half-time shows. But last game’s feature on Dwight Howard was excellent. And today’s half-time feature was also excellent; showing how the 1992 Dream Team motivated the current American squad.
  • Carmelo Anthony’s versatility came in handy after half-time. During the break, the Americans moved ‘Melo to the perimeter, where he hit several three-pointers.
  • Kobe Bryant and Jason Kidd form a great defensive backcourt. Laker fans must watch these two and wonder what could have been.
  • Carlos Arroyo has thrived in international tournaments. However, I’m not sure if he could do the same in a starting role with an NBA team.
  • The fourth quarter turned into a practice. It was good to see Michael Redd go off. Safe to say, the Milwaukee guard has rediscovered his stroke. Team USA had a great night from beyond-the-arc, hitting 23 three-pointers.
  • Broadcaster Bill Walton has a story for everything. Some good, some not so good.
  • Team USA will face Argentina in tomorrow’s final. Both teams will go for the win even though they’ve already qualified for next summer’s Olympics.

What did you think of Team USA’s play against Puerto Rico? Get at us in the comment box below with your thoughts.

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