Links: Team 116, Australia 85

by August 20, 2008

by Lang Whitaker

Welcome to the quarterfinals. I’ll be with you live all morning. Tipoff is looming…

In games earlier this morning, Spain and Lithuania each won, advancing to the next round. No real surprises there, except it means China is out of medal contention.

Starting line ups:
AUS: Bogut, Newley, Bruton, Barton, Barlow
USA: Melo, Dwight, Kobe, Kidd, Bron

Here we go…

• USA win the tip. Australia starts in man to man and Dwight misses a hook shot.

• Bogut misses a hook shot even worse, then Melo hits a J from the wing. 2-0, USA.

• Nielsen gets an open 3 and misses. USA gets it inside and misses a few tip-ins, before Dwight gets fouled and to the line. Miss, miss. Doug Collins says Team USA is 11th out of 12 teams in free throw shooting.

• Barlow, looking like a Down Under version of Kirilenko, misses a three, and Dwight scores and gets fouled. And one. Good.

• 5-0, USA, two minutes in.

• Neilsen hits an awkward runner and gets fouled. Good. And it’s a 5 to THREE ballgame!

• Not anymore. Melo for two. Team USA is going to the rim every time down.

• Bron pushes the ball on the break and misses a lefty layup. Dwight gets the board and gets fouled by Bogut, his second foul. AUS doesn’t seem inclined to sub him out.

• Kobe finally hits one of those jumpers from the wing, and then Bron brings the ball up and hits a three. Dwight scores the next time down,a nd Team USA leads 14-5.

• Very little rhythm in this game early — lots of fouls and stoppages.

• Patty Mills is in for AUS, along with Bruton, giving them a tiny backcourt. Neilsen picks up his second foul. Bogut and Neilsen each have two fouls.

• Mills pops a three from the wing.

• Kobe forces a turnaround jumper that misses.

• Barlow wets a set shot from three! 15-12, USA.

• Stop the games! Kidd just took a jumper and made it! His third shot attempt of the entire Olympics.

• Down 17-14, Bruton misses a three with a chance to tie. USA comes back and gets it to Dwight, who’s fouled again. That’s six fouls on AUS with the first quarter barely halfway finished. They might have to go zone just to stay out of foul trouble. Timeout on the floor, 17-14, USA.

• Dwight makes the first, misses the second then gets the board 1-on-4 and scores. Anstey hits a three on the other end to make it 20-17. Wade checks in.

• Kobe takes a three a quick three that even Doug Collins mildly criticizes.

• AUS can’t catch a break, getting the ball inside and missing a couple of easy shots. USA comes flying back down the floor and Bron gets popped in the mouth. He makes one of two free throws, Team USA leads 21-17.

• Patty Mills flies into the lane and misses a layup. Anstey hits a turnaround J to make it 21-19, USA, with 1:30 to go.

• Newley misses an alley-oop, then Mills wins the Aussie equivalent of an Oscar, drawing a charge on Deron Williams.

• Saville to the line for AUS. Good, good. Tied up!

• Not for long. AUS goes zone and Melo pops a three to give USA a 24-21 lead. Mills goes to the line. Good, miss.

• USA holds for the last shot of the quarter. AUS plays a box-and-one it looks like, with Mills on CPaul. Somehow Bosh gets fouled away from the ball. Bosh misses, makes.

• AUS isolates Mills and clears it out. Mills drives and gets the layup, then misses the and one. Chris Paul misses a layup at the end of the quarter. So after one quarter, it’s 25-24, USA.

• Team USA is 5-11 on free throws thus far, but they’re ahead 20-12 on rebounds.

• Mills gets it in to Bogut, who misses another layup. Wade gets the rebound and runs it right down Mills’ throat. Good, and one, good. 28-24.

• Melo drives and forces a foul call against AUS. Team USA has switched it up and put Deron Williams on Mills, BTW. Melo hits to make it 30-26.

• Steal by Williams, then a turnover right back. Mills hits a layup over Bosh, who tries to draw a charge. Block that shot, big man!

• Bosh gets fouled inside and goes to the line. Misses the first, then makes the second. Looks like Boeheim is coaching the free throws.

• USA goes small (Kobe, Bron at the 5, Melo, Wade, Deron). They immediately force a fast break and get a dunk. Melo shoves Bogut for the foul. Bosh checks back in for Melo.

• Kobe pump fakes a three and drives for an open dunk. AUS comes back and USA gets a turnover, then Kobe puts a mixtape move on Mills and gets a layup. Timeout, AUS. 37-30, USA, with 6:39 left in the first half.

• Out of the timeout, AUS goes to Bogut, who gets triple-teamed but somehow scores. He misses the free throw, though. Deron Williams scores on the other end.

• LeBron tips away a pass and goes one on one against Bruton. Bron lowers his shoulder and goes through Bruton for the layup. I think Bruton ended up in Shanghai.

• USA leads 41-32. Newley drives and scores to cut it to 7.

• Hey guess what? Kobe just forced and missed another three. I may or may not have cursed out loud at his shot selection.

• 41-36 now, as AUS is making a run.

• Enough, says Bron, who bulls his way to the rim and gets the layup and a foul.

• Some guy named Worthington fouls Melo a little too hard underneath, and Bron gives him a little shove. Everyone stands around trying to look tough, and Doug Collins starts talking about when he played in the 1972 Munich Olympics. Seriously.

• Melo hits both free throws. Not sure AUS wants to go there with Team USA. Shouldn’t they let the sleeping beast lie?

• Kobe finally decides to drive, where he gets an NBA continuation call, and one. Misses, makes it 47-38 with 3:35 left.

• AUS goes zone and Team USA all stands like statues on offense. Bron finally takes a bad three and misses.

• AUS misses another layup. They must’ve missed about 7 or 8 open layups.

• USA back to the line, makes it 48-40. Then Bron drives through the AUS zone to make it 50-40, two minutes left.

• Newley! He hits a stepback three to make it a 7 point game.

• Here’s a surprise: Kobe forces and misses a three.

• Deron Williams misses an open three. USA is 2-12 on threes and 10-20 form the free throw line. And they still lead by 7, mostly because they’re getting every rebound (30 to 14).

• Worthington misses a three, and at the buzzer Deron Williams hits a pull-up three! Heckuva shot, and Team USA takes their biggest lead. Kevin Harlan would have called that a dagger. USA leads at the half, 55-43.

Looking at the numbers at the half, Bron has 12 points and 7 rebounds, and he’s really been Team USA’s most aggressive player thus far — no one else seems interested in pushing the ball at all, yet Bron’s been fighting his way to the rim over and over. And Team USA is totally controlling the boards — they have one less offensive rebound than Australia has total rebounds. Mills and Newley lead the Aussies with 8 points apiece.

Wow…was looking through the stats and Team USA has, get this, a total of 2 assists on 21 field goals. So yeah, maybe guys are trying to do a little too much on their own. And Chris Paul had a terrible half (0 points, 0 assists, 0 steals, 2 fouls, 1 turnover).

• USA starts with the ball, and Newley fouls Kobe on the perimeter.

• There it is: Kobe off a screen for a three, USA goes ahead 58-43. Melo for three, and now it’s 61-43.

• Crazy play, and Bron ends up diving out of bounds to save it, and Kobe ends up getting fouled. Kobe misses his first free throw, makes the second. USA leads by 19, 62-43.

• Steal by USA, and Kidd gets an open layup. AUS looks exhausted coming out of the half. Kobe plays a two man game with Dwight, patiently waits and gets a layup, and one. See what happens when you don’t jack up an early three? Timeout, the Aussies.

• Kobe misses the free throw and Dwight gets blocked on the rebound. Anstey shoots an airball from three.

• Melo hits Kobe on a crosscourt pass and he drains the open three. That’s a 14-0 run for Team USA, with Kobe scoring 9.

• 69-43, 6:06 left in the third.

• Patty Mills hits a three, the first points of the third for the Aussies.

• Wow, on a loose ball, Kidd tips it to an open Bron inside, who scores and gets fouled. Free throw rims out.

• On a switch, Mills ends up with Bosh guarding him, and Bosh actually makes him give it up. Worthington ends up dunking the ball as it sits on the rim.

• Uh-oh, Bogut is on the bench with his shoe off and ice on his ankle. Mark Cuban is somewhere yelling, I told you guys! Don’t let your guys play in the Olympics!

• Bosh gets the ball inside on a gorgeous dish from LeBron. Dunk. Bosh scores next time down, too. Bron is getting his hands on every loose ball.

• Down 75-50, and the Aussies go full court man to man, which is what USA has been waiting for so they can start running.

• Tayshaun is in. Cigars for everyone!

• Bosh with a dunk. Wade with a jumper from the wing that he banks in. You don’t often see guys intentionally bank in three pointers.

• Well that got out of hand, fast. Team USA’s up 30 now with 2:14 left in the third. Team USA’s up 27-9 in the third. Mills and Prince swap threes.

• Saville takes a three from the wing, and while closing out Wade looks like he pops him in the stomach. Saville hits the shot, and one, and starts chirping at Wade, as does Mills. They know they’re down 27, right?

• Mills gets a layup, but USA comes back and Prince catches an oop from CP. Then Bosh blocks a three from Mills.

• The Aussies hold for the last shot of the half, but can’t score. So there goes this game. Team USA went on a 34-18 run in the third. After three, Team USA is in control, 89-61.

• Australia comes out in man-to-man, and Deron Williams goes right by Mills for a layup.

• Mike Redd check in, but Boozer still can’t get off the bench, despite a 26 point lead for Team USA. Redd hits a three.

• Bron checks back in, draws a double team and hits Kobe for a long open three. When he’s open and in rhythm, Kobe looks like Kobe.

• 96-67, with 6:42 left in the game. Kobe hits a long three with a defender in his face. Ingles hits one on the other end. Then Bron hits a jumper from the wing off the wrong foot. Timeout, Australia. During the timeout, we see Bogut hop over to the huddle, unable to put any weight on his left ankle.

• One of the Australia assistant coaches is holding a digital camera on the bench. Now he’s taking pictures during the game.

• Ingles hits another three. Eight points for him in garbage time.

• Boozer checks in. Wade drives through the Outback for a layup.

• Ingles hits another three. So does Michael Redd.

• Breen and Collins mention that both Boozer and Redd are guys who need a lot of minutes to be successful. Then maybe Team USA should’ve found some guys who don’t need a lot of minutes to be bench guys?

• Nielsen takes another cheap shot on Chris Paul. Nielsen’s the kind of guy you want on your team, not against your team.

• 2:44 left, and Team USA leads big. Ingles takes out Deron Williams legs on a layup, which is a pretty cheap play. Deron refuses CJ Bruton’s hand as he tries to help him up.

• Nielsen drives inside and Boozer hacks him hard. Nielsen makes one of two. Boozer drains a two over Nielsen.

And that’s it, Team USA wins 116-85. Team USA now plays the winner of Argentina/Greece on Friday. The Aussies kept it close early, but, as they’ve done to everyone else in the Olympics, Team USA eventually wore them down.

Kobe finally broke out, with 25 points on 10-16 shooting. LeBron went for 16 and 9, and every player on Team USA scored at least 2 points. Australia was led by Patty Mills, who scored a relatively quiet 20 points.

Two more wins from gold for the Redeem Team…