Thursday, August 21, 2008

After tight first quarter, U.S. explodes to rout Australia

Quick recap of the USA-Australia game the other day. [Sorry for not posting this sooner!]

[Here's the box score from the game.]

Australia had a good opening quarter, but was done in by missed layups early that could have given them a lead. They were also awful on the glass -- a key against Team USA. The Aussies needed Bogut to play big, but he seemed tired to me and only played 11 minutes.

Kobe was very good (again), but the biggest play of the game was Deron Williams' 3-ball at the end of the first half. Williams' shot was the result of poor shot selection by the Australians as they shot too early, allowing Williams to hit a pull-up 3-pointer.

Mills was best player for Australia against the U.S. But by the time he checked in, his club was already in a deep hole. We're seeing a bit of the changing of the guard as veteran C.J. Bruton gives way to Patty Mills, who finished with 20 points on 7-16 shooting. He also had three steals and did a good job creating off the dribble.

As I posted before the game, it was important for Australia to take care of the ball against the Americans. And in the first quarter, they did -- only turning it over once. It's a big reason they were only down, 25-24, after one.

But the U.S. easily won the rebound game, outboarding the Aussies, 58-27. When you shoot 50 percent from the field and still get 19 offensive boards you're dominating at the offensive end of the floor.

Team USA shot well from 3-point range, going 12-29. Their FG percentage and shot selection have been great and they attacked off the dribble, getting to the FT line 32 times in the game. To score 116 points in a 40-minute game (versus 48) is pretty remarkable.

And, had the U.S. shot better from the line (only 58%), they'd have easily scored in the 120-point range. But it wasn't much of an issue since when they missed a FT, they'd simply grab the rebound.

T. Prince and M. Redd gave Team USA solid minutes off the bench, combining for 14 points on 5-7 shooting.

Despite the blow-out loss, the Australians have some good young talent with Mills, Newley, Ingles, and Bogut. And with A.J. Ogilvy and Nathan Jawai, they'll have a real shot at a medal at the next Olympics.