USA 103, Senegal 58

by Lang Whitaker

— US starts with Jamison, Miller, Hinrich and Joe Johnson in the starting lineup. The only regular starter in the lineup is LeBron, which isn’t a bad idea after how he played yesterday. Senegal has both Makhtar and Mamadou Ndiaye starting.

— Senegal jumps ahead to a 4-0 lead after 2 minutes. Makhtar Ndiaye hacks Joe Johnson and allows the US to get on the scoreboard.

— Fran Fraschilla points out that several guys from Senegal chose not to play on their team this year, including the wonderfully-named Clippers forward Boniface N’Dong.

— With 5:40 minutes to go, the game’s tied at 8. This game is zipping along, with no clock stoppages. I’m not even sure if Coach K is at the game.

— USA’s first elimination game will be against Australia on Sunday.

— Dwight Howard and Melo check in with 5 minutes to go, US down 10-8.

— LeBron is not playing well tonight — as I wrote that he just had a nice tip jam on a missed Hinrich layup — but early on he’s not a part of the offense at all and doesn’t seem to understand how to make himself a part of it with dominating the ball.

— 14-13, US, 3:39 in the first.

— Melo wets a three from the wing. Battier checks in with a freshly shaved head. His natural cornrows don’t seem as pronounced as they were when he was at Duke.

— Chris Paul and Elton Brand are in. The announces mention that D-Wade probably won’t play at all.

— Paul sinks a jumper to make it 21-13. Melo drills a three. 12 straight for the USA. Senegal responds with a runner that hits nothing but glass.

— 26-13 after one. Then the US comes out and steals the two initial Senegal possessions and scores 5 points off the turnovers.

— Chris Bosh checks in. How far down the depth chart has he fallen?

— Brad Miller gives up a layup to a guy named Savane who played at Navy.

— Bosh catches inside and…misses a dunk. A foul call bails him out and sends him to the line, where he misses both free throws. He just can’t get anything to go his way.

— Senegal, down 33-16, finally decides to try a zone defense. Joe Johnson dribbles through it to the rim for a layup.

— Bosh under the rim and he…turns it over. Come on, Chris! At this point I just want him to get any kind of basket.

— Miller gets fouled and goes to the line, and Bosh gets called for a lane violation. Good grief.

— Senegal scores 4 straight, and the US gets a run out. Alley oop to Bosh…he makes it! The camera cuts to the US bench where Melo and Dwight Howard are on their feet cheering.

— Bron nails a three from the corner. 41-22, USA.

— According to Fran Fraschilla, Greece has lost one of their best players after he was elbowed in the jaw and had it fractured by Anderson Varejao.

— Melo throws an alley-oop to Bron, who reverses it in. Next time down Bron dribbles through the lane for a dunk. 48-22, USA. Bron scores again to make it 50-22. Bron has a quiet 15 points.

— I’m curious to see the ESPN2 ratings from this event. Who is watching these games? Am I the only person waking up early to watch?

— Jamison pops a three, US takes a 31-point lead. I think Coach K just put Darko in the game.

— Someone calls a timeout with the US up 53-21.

— Free throw shooting in this tournament is interesting. You’re apparently allowed to just stroll up to the lane and find a spot whenever you want to, so long as you’re set when the ball is shot. This results in a lot of moments where guys are kind of milling about and wandering around, and the lane can resemble a bus stop the way people come and go. It seems like it would be just as distracting to the US players as the opponents.

— US leads 58-24 at the half. Bron has 15, almost exclusively in transition, on fast breaks or run outs. I can’t remember him even shooting a jumper. Senegal is 10-35 at the half.

— At the half they do a flashback to the Sydney Olympics and do a things about Alonzo Mourning flying from Australia to Miami for the birth his child and then flying back to Australia to get his gold medal. They don’t make any mention of Mourning finding out he needed a kidney transplant a few weeks afterwards — remember how he thought he was just tired from all the travel?

— Halftime in these games takes forever. It’s like having an extra quarter.

— Fraschilla has now metnioned three times that “process” is more important than results today for Coach K.

— 63-26 now. I’m now surfing the internet.

— Coach K apparently has some beef with Makhtar Ndiaye. No mention of this from ESPN, because they’re too busy telling us how many NBA guys are on each team.

— Wow, Dirk scored 47 for Germany today in a win over Angola. Did you know Dirk is an NBA player?

— Senegal pg Cisse drives on a fastbreak and Elton Brand hacks him into the basket support.

— The US goes ahead 67-34. A rebound for Bosh! We get a shot of Melo and LeBron on the bench cracking up.

— What a terrible game. US is up 72-38. Bosh bricks a jumper and knocks the rebound out of bounds, then swings his arm through the air in frustration.

— Oh great. Imagine you’re Senegal, and you’re down 30 when LeBron and Carmelo check in. Melo and CP hit back-to-back threes.

— A Japanese fan holds up a Dwyane Wade sign that reads “Burning Slashing Flash.” The other side should say Lost in Translation.

— Ok, it’s 81-40 after three quarters. If the US loses this game it would be the worst loss in the history of organized sports. I’m dunzo with this one. For his sake, I hope Chris Bosh gets going. USA’s next game will be early Sunday morning against Australia.