(Boulder-CO) The Redeem Team once again trampled their way through the last game of pool play with this morning's victory coming over Spain, 119-82. It was an old fashioned blowout, with an unconventional twist for this USA Basketball team. Here are the four cornerstones from this morning's game:
1. Team USA shot 48% from downtown with Carmelo Anthony leading the way with four treys. The Redeem Team has been tepid from long range so far in these games thus prompting opposing teams to drop back in zone defenses and force the USA to beat them shooting perimeter shots rather than dunks. If Team USA is going to take gold in these games they are going to have to sustain the warm stroke from downtown.
2. Team USA forced 28 turnovers against the Spaniards. Fluke? I think not! Not but one game after I praised Coach K and his commitment to defense this team collectively turns up their intensity another notch against a Spanish team with young guards and completely flustered them. Bravo!
3. Team USA had been struggling a bit from the free-throw line, but found a way to drastically improve from the stripe today against Spain. Chris Paul's unblemished 8-8 helped, but no one on the team missed more than one free-throw against Spain, and as a team the USA shot nearly 80% on 19-24.
4. The NBC annoucing crew keeps bringing up how popular Kobe Bryant is in China (and rightfully so), but LeBron James seems to be the player opposing teams are most in awe of. LeBron has been doing everything in these games, in addition to serving as the team's most vocal leader, and today was just another day for the King. James scored a team-high 18 points, dished eight assists, grabbed five rebounds, and nabbed four steals in a team-high 28 minutes of play. James, while not the biggest player on Team USA, is definitely proving to be the most physically dominating.
From here on the games are for keeps.