In preparation for this game yesterday, Dwight Howard was hanging around Team USA practice, holding a piece of paper that looked like he just had some USA Basketball intern whip up. “Take nothing for granted. We are 0-0.”
* The Australians came out trying to pressure Team USA at half court. Seriously? The Americans might be trying not to take anything for granted, but I’m sure they appreciate being given an easier path to the basket.
* From the jump, Dwight is practicing what he preaches, treating Andrew Bogut like a rag doll. Dwight got position so deep on the block that he had to lean away from the baseline to finish an easy two.
* It’s honestly surprising to see Chris Antsey knocking down two triples for the Boomers. It’s not that he can’t shoot – he spent three years in the League because he’s a 7-footer with range. But during their exhibition game, LeBron had to step in to separate Kobe and Antsey.
* With the first quarter winding down, it feels like the Americans are getting a lot of their points off of second-chance rebounds. On the other end Australia can’t convert high-percentage bunnies. If they weren’t bricking these easy second-chance opportunities, the Boomers would be winning this game.
* With the game tied 21-21, Dwyane Wade responded by gritting his teeth and going to the basket. He got the entire defense to collapse on him, so when he grabbed his own board, he hit a wide-open ‘Melo to bury a three.
* After a couple of questionable calls (one on Deron Williams for an offensive foul on Patty Mills, one in which Patty Mills got an and-1 when he wasn’t touched, and then one when Chris Paul didn’t get a call as time expired), Coach K was fuming. As the ref told him to go sit down, he b-lined it for LeBron, and got down face-to-face to tell him something. “Get in there and take this shit over.”
* Coach K’s been mixing up lineups that we haven’t seen yet. But the LeBron-at-center look was flying around the floor. Wade found ‘Bron on the break for the first transition assist all game. Then Kobe pump faked someone out of their jock and tomahawked where Andrew Bogut should have been. But he edged away from that side of the block to avoid complete humiliation.
* Aussie coach Brian Goorjian sent Mark Worthington into the game to try to get under anybody’s skin on Team USA. It didn’t look like there was an issue until give Aussie’s were surrounding LeBron – who was giggling about it – and Worthington was rubbing up against him.
* Great way to end the first half. Deron Williams splashed a three to end his personal drought and put the Americans up by double figures. It’s still not going to be pretty in Team USA’s locker room.