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USA starts pretty blah, Kobe and LeBron help them run away from Aussies late

Aug 8, 2012, 7:48 PM EDT

Australian guard Matt Dellavedova (L) ch Getty Images

There are certain boxers and MMA fighters that nobody looks fighting good against. Even the fighters with all the style get sucked into an ugly grappling contest, nobody looks pretty in the ring/octagon against these guys.

That is Australian basketball.

For three quarters against Team USA the Aussies were physical, they mucked up the game, they made sure it wasn’t pretty and they hit a few threes. Australia played well and exactly how they wanted. They kept it close. But behind a triple-double from LeBron James (11 points, 14 rebounds, 12 assists) and some hot shooting from Kobe Bryant, the Americans pulled away in the fourth quarter to win 119-86.

Next up is a third game in three weeks against a good Argentina side. The Olympic semifinal is at 4 p.m. Eastern Friday. Win that and the Americans will play for the gold on Sunday.

But that’s getting ahead of ourselves because Argentina likes to grind out the game like Australia, the South Americans just do it better and have more skill.

And the Aussies gave the USA some trouble. Just like they did four years ago in the Beijing Olympics — Australia plays physical and can be tough to play against. There was not a great flow to the game but the USA was up 28-21 after one and you kept waiting for the big run in the second. But it never came, it was more ugly, more grinding. The USA still kept playing a little better and was up 14 at the break.

Then Australia opened second half on an 11-0 run, bringing it down to 56-53 lead for the USA. The USA needed a spark.

They got a one from the guy getting shredded on twitter. Kobe Bryant was 0-5 shooting with three turnovers by a few minutes into the third quarter, and after guarding Aussie star Patty Mills in the first half he was switched off him (Chris Paul took over). He was having a bad half. Anyone who has seen Kobe struggle over the years knows what is next — he is going to shoot his way out of it.

He did. And it worked. Kobe hit back-to-back threes in the third — one catch-and-shoot, then made a steal and knocked down a transition three — and that sparked a little run by the USA that got it back up to 14. In the fourth Kobe couldn’t miss from three as he racked up 20 second half points.

In the fourth, the USA picked up their defensive pressure and Australia just did not have the depth of talent to hang with it. The USA was back to putting on a show with Kobe threes (six total in the second half), LeBron passes and even an impressive James Harden dunk. They ran away and hid.

Deron Williams had 18 and Carmelo Anthony 17 for the United States. Mills (the former St. Mary star who played for the Blazers and Spurs) led the Aussies with 26.

It was a win and in the end that’s all that matters for the USA. But now they will have to beat a good Argentinian team who has played them very well for five of the eight quarters when the two teams have met in recent weeks. They have Manu Ginobili playing very well and good guys around him like Carlos Delfino and Luis Scola. The USA will have to play better.

In the two meetings thus far Argentina has not been able to keep up with the runs of the USA and that has been the difference. But for the USA to do it a third time they will need a better game, a more consistent defensive effort than we saw against Australia.

  1. dunkindan - Aug 8, 2012 at 7:57 PM

    St Mary’s college VS Team USA
    Patty Mills all time leading Olympic scorer.

    • saint1997 - Aug 9, 2012 at 4:41 AM

      Good effort from us Aussies, hanging with the US for 3 quarters with our only nba player being a third string spurs guard!

  2. tonystrong - Aug 8, 2012 at 8:08 PM

    I don’t care what all the haters have to say, all London has shown me is that Kobe’s reign as best basketball player on the planet is over. It’s been over but this tournament is the exclamation point. I think Kobe is going to leave London knowing that he will not see more then the 5 rings he’s got already. You know why? Because he’s seen Lebron James and HE KNOWS. Lebron is the greatest passer in the world! Lebron is rebounding over and defending 7 footers. He’s hitting 3’s and defending anything that moves. If you’ve watched these games you know two things are for sure. The United States is the greatest country on the planet when it comes to basketball and Lebron James is the greatest basketball player on the planet. AND IT’S NOT EVEN CLOSE!

  3. j0esixpack - Aug 8, 2012 at 8:11 PM

    If those scrubs Magic, Jordan, Bird et al were playing in their prime no doubt they would have lost

  4. soflasfinest - Aug 8, 2012 at 8:28 PM

    LeBron with the first triple double ever in the Olympics. Impressive.

  5. bucrightoff - Aug 8, 2012 at 8:48 PM

    Remember when the Olympics were going to help make Carmelo a better teammate? He has 4 assists in 6 games. Sorry Knick fans.

  6. kwf1224 - Aug 8, 2012 at 8:54 PM

    It’s so amazing what I am seeing by the U.S.

  7. 1972wasalongtimeago - Aug 8, 2012 at 9:26 PM

    Hey rest of America….pretty fun having LeBron on your team, isn’t it?

    • censoredpost - Aug 8, 2012 at 10:02 PM

      Please, I’ve had him on my family fantasy league since his rook yr. My twin brother drafted Darko #1 that yr LOL. Thanks for reminding me of that, I think I’ll call him and bring that up right now.

  8. pmd5319 - Aug 8, 2012 at 10:17 PM

    Too many 3’s. Most athletic team in the world by far and they settle for threes. I don’t care if the 3 pt line is closer. Go to the goal. They still won’t lose, but if they do, it’ll be because they settle.

  9. lakerluver - Aug 8, 2012 at 10:26 PM

    Why are you analyzing this game?! It’s a foregone conclusion that the USA will be bringing home the gold.

  10. asublimeday - Aug 9, 2012 at 2:35 AM

    Nobody cares. Olympic basketball is a travesty. 23 and under or I don’t want to hear it.

    • rtfinch - Aug 9, 2012 at 8:08 AM

      But yet you read and comment? makes sense.

  11. asublimeday - Aug 9, 2012 at 2:38 AM

    Hey rest of America….pretty fun having LeBron on your team, isn’t it?

    Nope. Hate him, always will. Don’t care about what uniform he puts on. Honestly between him getting another gold and the USA losing, it’s becoming increasingly tougher to pick him getting another gold. I can’t wish enough bad things on that turd.

    • 1972wasalongtimeago - Aug 9, 2012 at 9:51 AM

      I need to know why you hate LeBron. Seriously, please put it in writing. If you’re going to spew the hate (your word, not mine) so frequently on this site, you owe us all an explanation as to why. I can’t wait to read it.

  12. diablito0402 - Aug 9, 2012 at 2:56 AM

    In the gold metal game with tie score with 5 secs to go, i sure dont want the ball on lebricks hands, im glad we got kobe to get us the gold, but it wont even come down like that!!

    • 1972wasalongtimeago - Aug 9, 2012 at 10:20 AM

      You missed Game 6 vs. Boston didn’t you?

  13. hjworton46 - Aug 9, 2012 at 3:05 AM

    US team benefitted from some terrible officiating in the first half, ref appeared in awe of US players.

  14. rickyspanish - Aug 9, 2012 at 5:39 AM


    Boo hoo. All your LeBron hate is going to hurt your tummy. Maybe some warm milk and a swaddle will calm you down.

  15. ebrownwareagle - Aug 9, 2012 at 8:14 AM

    They Won by 33! That’s still not good enough. Won by 80+, it was why did they do those guys like that. Their really damn if they do no matter how many they win by. They will not lose a game. But for all the naysayers, when they stop letting these guys play and we return to college players or under 23. Possibly by the next Olympics. Your about to see the Last USA Olympic Gold for a long time.

  16. diablito0402 - Aug 9, 2012 at 10:37 AM

    He got greatness without earning it from media and worshipers like you. Not clutch, dissapears in games, he finally came through last year after joining wades team, and also read he never tipped after keeping waiters after hours at restaurants and even vegas, sorry not much to like about him, i do recognize he can play ball, and he finally earned some of his hype last season..

    • 1972wasalongtimeago - Aug 9, 2012 at 11:06 AM

      So weak. You’re going to hold a grudge for how LeBron was perceived when he was in High School? Because he left a bad tip? Give me a break.

      He got greatness because he’s great. Do you ‘Hate” Durant, Rose, Anthony Davis, Andrew Luck, RG3, Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, Steven Strasburg…….? What have any of them ever done that LeBron didn’t do before he was 21?

      Truth of the matter is LeBron owned Wade when he was in Cleveland. Wade needed LeBron WAY more than LeBron needed Wade.

  17. diablito0402 - Aug 9, 2012 at 10:41 AM

    And no i didnt miss game 6 at boston last year, but i also didnt miss game 5 at boston in his last year as a cavalier

  18. diablito0402 - Aug 9, 2012 at 11:18 AM

    Then why didnt wade go to cleveland, it dont matter what kind of physical attributes you have if you aint got mental toughness, wow another guy on lebrons jock strap, your boy just cant handle pressure, thats why he needed to join a mini allstar team!!

    • 1972wasalongtimeago - Aug 9, 2012 at 11:38 AM

      Name a player who played under more pressure to succeed than LeBron James this season? And all he did was deliver an undisputed Regular Season MVP, insane performances with his team down in playoff series to the Pacers and the Celtics, and an Undisputed Finals MVP.

      And now he’s the clear best player on a team comprised of the world’s best players; performing incredibly with nothing to accomplish and EVERYTHING to lose.

      These are the facts. And they are not in dispute.

      Plus, he seems to me to be a pretty cool dude. Other than a poorly conceived and even more poorly executed opress conference, the guy has been all class in victory and defeat.

  19. diablito0402 - Aug 9, 2012 at 11:21 AM

    Not holding a grudge because he dont tip, it just says he is bigger than anybody else and he is a piece of crap of a human being, or what he cant afford to tip these hard working people!!!

    • 1972wasalongtimeago - Aug 9, 2012 at 11:55 AM

      Do yourself a favor. Allow yourself to enjoy being a fan of LeBron James. It really is fun. Life’s too short to do otherwise.

  20. asublimeday - Aug 9, 2012 at 11:55 AM

    Truth of the matter is LeBron owned Wade when he was in Cleveland. Wade needed LeBron WAY more than LeBron needed Wade.

    That’s why Lebron had a ring and wade didn’t, right? Oh…wait…

    • 1972wasalongtimeago - Aug 9, 2012 at 11:58 AM

      Does this even require a response?

  21. asublimeday - Aug 9, 2012 at 11:57 AM

    I read the article written by the espn writer that followed Lebron for a weekend with all-access. Among a thousand other things, that article alone gives such an honest perception of Lebron (colossal douche), lebron’s camp had it pulled in a day.

    Do some research.

  22. diablito0402 - Aug 9, 2012 at 12:14 PM

    I bet you love tebow too, hahaha, silly sports fans, i bet you didnt even know miami had a basketball team 3 years ago.

    • 1972wasalongtimeago - Aug 9, 2012 at 2:52 PM

      So you can’t like LeBron because he’s awesome and a jerk; and you can’t like Tebow because he sucks and he’s nice.

      You see what I’m dealing with here, people?

      So tell me, who do you find acceptable to enjoy watching play sports?

  23. diablito0402 - Aug 9, 2012 at 5:52 PM

    Let me put it this way.. I dont like DIVAS, clear enough, give me kobe, durant, jordan magic and bird.

  24. 1972wasalongtimeago - Aug 9, 2012 at 10:40 PM

    DIVA. Everyone likes Durant, DEEEEEVVVVAAAAA, Everyone likes Magic, Probably the biggest A-Hole of them all.

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