Hot shooting, a third quarter run, and star power: how Kobe, LeBron, and Team USA blew-out Australia
Forget August 5th. Forget the exhibition game, where Australia challenged America by controlling tempo through zone defences and methodical half-court sets.
Two weeks later. Same teams. Different result. On Wednesday morning, Team USA advanced to the semi-finals of the medal round, using momentum from a late second quarter run to beat a feisty Australian side 116-85.
Here are my quick notes from the game:
- The Boomers confused Stars & Stripes in the first half by implementing various zone defences. Once again, by slowing tempo, the ‘Aussies’ kept close before a Deron Williams three-pointer closed the first half and pushed America’s lead to twelve going into the break.
- Team USA then outscored Australia 34-18 in the third frame. The ‘Redeemers’ opened things up by hitting outside shots and going inside with NBA post Andrew Bogut injured.
- Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James kept Team USA’s stat guy busy. Bryant made 4-of-7 three-pointers and 9-of-15 overall for a game high 23 points, while Anthony and James combined for 31 points and 16 rebounds.
- Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade made major contributions off-the-bench. Both were productive in 16 minutes of playing time. Bosh scored 10 points, grabbed six rebounds, and set the tone on defence, while Wade scored eight and collected eight rebounds.
- Team USA continued to platoon all three point-guards. However, Williams was easily the best. Of course, he sank that clutch three-pointer near the end of the second quarter, but also scored 10 points, grabbed three rebounds, and dished out three assists in just over a half of playing time.
- America is unbeatable when making shots. They connected on 43-of-76 attempts overall, which included an impressive 12-of-29 three-pointers. Their free throw shooting (58% on 18-of-31 attempts) was less impressive.
- Despite the loss, the future is bright for Australia. Patrick Mills led the way against Team USA with 20 points on a collection of drives and jump shots. Best of all, he wasn’t intimidated by the American stars. The Mills, Bogut, and Brad Newley trio will hit their prime just in time for the 2012 London Olympics.