We were in the house Monday night as Team USA barely survived an exhibition against Brazil. And while we weren’t in the house last night against Great Britain, we could’ve guessed what would happen: pure domination. The national team won by 40 and dominated the second half so thoroughly, we thought someone should’ve instituted a mercy rule. Deron Williams (who missed one shot) and Carmelo Anthony led the way with 19 points a piece as the game dwindled into an all-out evisceration in the third quarter. Great Britain’s head coach, Chris Finch, said before the game he figured his guys would be nervous and intimated at first, but would eventually settle down. That was wishful thinking … Team USA jumped out early as Carmelo poured in 12 quick points. But as Great Britain stiffened and a 18-point lead for the national team dwindled to 12, it became increasingly clear that ‘Melo was clogging the lane at times. We’ll win gold if we have ball movement and quick-hitting cuts in the half-court to take advantage of our huge edge in athleticism. Immediately upon returning, Chris Paul ran consecutive pick-n-rolls and opened everything up. Then, Britain’s next two offensive possessions ended in turnovers, and then on the other end, Kevin Durant and LeBron James dunked … Still, Anthony needed a night like this after he got caught against Brazil with his shorts down at his ankles. He looked like a completely different player on both ends, and some of that was probably brought on by pride. Durant replaced him in the starting lineup, as Williams replaced CP3 … In the third quarter, Team USA exploded, creating turnovers, defending, hitting deep shots and generally putting Great Britain through a paper shredder. LeBron alone had three or four easy shots at the rim in the opening minutes. In a fitting end to the quarter, Carmelo dunked just before the third frame buzzer to put our guys up by a whopping score of 89-55. Fran Fraschilla was calling the game, and was busy trying to say the British fans weren’t cheering because they don’t know basketball. Um, Fran, it might be because they were watching the U.S. guys turn the Brits into a four-course meal. Even in the fourth quarter, it was like Team USA could do no wrong. You know it’s your night when Kevin Love catches an alley-oop and finishes with a reverse half-dunk/half-layup. That shocked us. In fact, the dunk cam behind the USA basket was getting some serious work in the second half. We weren’t counting, but the team probably had over 20 dunks. If Blake Griffin hadn’t gotten hurt, he might’ve killed somebody … Speaking of Love, Fraschilla also called him perhaps the most underrated player in the league “because of all the things he does so well” and “being on a bad team, you don’t get to appreciate what he does.” We’ve always been intrigued by Love’s place amongst the elite. On one hand, he was sixth in MVP voting and put up numbers (26 points, 13.3 rebounds a game) that would’ve made Charles Barkley happy. On the other, he doesn’t defend at all, cheats at times for rebounds and has looked relatively human going up against some of the better big men in the league. More than a few people will tell you he gets hollow stats. What do you believe? … Keep reading to hear about the latest Dwight Howard rumblings …
As we wrote yesterday, Jarrod Rudolph of RealGM.com, who is as close to Dwight Howard as anyone in the media, is reporting the big man is now willing to sign long-term with the Lakers should they trade for him. Multiple sources have confirmed the same thing, and we would say we were surprised… except we’ve been predicting this for months now. Eventually, there’s too much working in Dwight’s favor for him NOT to sign with the Lakers. He wants to be Hollywood, create his own legacy, be bigger than the game and win championships. That wasn’t happening anywhere else but L.A. Now the hard part starts: the teams have to actually come up with a deal. The Lakers have Andrew Bynum as a trade chip, and nothing else. The Cavs have a few picks, and a couple of interesting young pieces to add to the equation. But as of now, the deal doesn’t come close to what Brooklyn had been offering. We doubt the Magic take a weaker deal than what was on the table a few weeks ago, especially since their new GM, Rob Hennigan, is so patient. Plus, Yahoo! Sports reports Cleveland won’t do anything unless they have insurances from Bynum that he’ll re-up there for the long haul … Remember yesterday when we mentioned that photo of Raymond Felton circulating around the Internet that made him look like he was auditioning for The Santa Clause? Someone probably got in Felton’s ear about clearing that up. A new photo, a more recent one, came out yesterday and it looks like New York’s point guard is in relatively good shape. Now, about that shooting percentage … The Denver Nuggets have also re-signed JaVale McGee to a four-year deal for $44 million, with extra bonuses should he always run the right way next year … And Jeremy Lin was formerly introduced as a Houston Rocket yesterday. Knicks fans cried, Houston crossed their fingers they were getting a guy who doesn’t turn out to be a fluke, and Carmelo Anthony fist pumped. Lin reiterated he would’ve been excited either way – had he gone back to New York or not – and is now just happy to be playing basketball and not dealing with the extra activity. That sounds a lot like a guy who was tired of playing in the Big Apple, even if he does love the fans. But the best part of this whole story is easily how Daryl Morey cut Lin last year, and has now agreed to pay him $25 million less than a year later … We’re out like Felton’s gut.
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