Team USA does not exactly blow away Australia, even though Andrew Bogut sat out resting a suspect ankle.
Yahoo's Kelly Dwyer on team USA's tune-ups: "Back-door screens still kill Team USA, and though the men still have the athleticism to recover and sometimes make up for it, Coach K's crew is still getting beat way too much by teams using Team USA's pressure against itself. That pressure seems to be a rallying point, both for Coach K, and legions of observers who still think the US can pressure non-stop and bully toward the gold medal. The team racks up oodles of steals, but once those turnovers dry up, this is still a limited defensive outfit. And it's a limited, three-point happy, offensive outfit in the half court. The team continues to make decisions that were depressing not as an American watching his country being represented overseas, but as a basketball fan in general. A long fadeaway jumper is the easiest shot in the world (and we mean that, "in the world," at this stage) to get, and there's a reason why you're usually open when you take it. Because guys like Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James can make one out of every three, though, they think the next one is going in. And that kills an offense."
Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press makes clear the mood is different than it was for the Dream Team in 1992: "U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski started the second quarter with a lineup of James, Bryant, Wade, Anthony and Deron Williams. Australia wasn't scared of that unit, with Wade and Anstey jawing after Anstey fouled Wade away the ball and the players got tangled when Wade got up. 'What they've done and where you see them can intimidate a lot of people,' Anstey said. 'I think to come into a game intimidated you've given up before you start, and we didn't feel like we did that tonight.'"
Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel: "Don't overstate this pre-Olympic tour, with Canada (Samuel Dalembert), Turkey (Hedo Turkoglu) and Australia (Andrew Bogut) without their best players. But don't understate what a confidence builder the process has been for Wade. It has been a while since things went so right for the Heat guard."
More preliminary jousting in Howard Schultz vs. Clay Bennett et al.
Talk of the Nets in Brooklyn maybe sorta possibly by mid-season 2010-2011. The thinking is that big delays here could affect the Nets' fortunes in the LeBron James sweepstakes. By the way, what if some team like the Nets rearranges every darned thing for free agency in 2010, and actually gets LeBron James, and then turns out to be what the Cavaliers are now: A middle-of-the-pack team with a boring style in a weak conference? I don't expect that to happen. But you have to consider that it could.
Otis Smith is one smart dude. Here's Gilbert Arenas: "My basement used to be my weight room but I'm converting it to a shark tank. I cut a whole wall out down there and replaced it with a 10,000 gallon shark tank. That's going to be my aggressive tank, only filled with bullhead sharks. If anybody knows what a bullhead shark is, it's the No. 1 killing shark in America. It can go in salt water and it can go in fresh water. I'm going to have a salt water tank so I can have my eels and my stingrays too. I'm going to have three bullheads in there. I originally wanted six, but the guy who has to clean it once a week said that he's not going to get in the tank with six of them, he'll get in with three. Once they get big enough, I'll have to get rid of them. The guy who cleans the tank actually goes and catches the sharks himself, because you know, these sharks you can't just go buy, they're illegal. Ever since Jaws there's been something about fish and sharks that I've always liked. Also when I saw Cribs and Ice T had a shark tank in the back of his place, I was like, "Oh man! That's what it is!! I've been trying to plan this shark tank for the last seven years of my career I've been talked out of it by my mentor, Otis Smith. He first talked me out of it when I was a rookie and I was going to spend my whole paycheck on a fish tank. I was like "Man, I want a fish tank, that's all I want to leave with, if I don't get another dime I can know I got a fish tank, and Otis shut that down."
Ross Siler of the Salt Lake Tribune: "I think it's also fair to ask if trying to split minutes between three point guards is hurting the U.S. Jason Kidd, Chris Paul and Deron Williams combined for five points, eight assists and six turnovers in 49 minutes Tuesday. After five games, I'm still waiting to see anything out of Kidd. We're constantly reminded that he's the only U.S. player to have won a gold medal before. But Kidd had no points, three assists and two turnovers in 15 minutes against Australia."
The 2008 Floor Burn tournament, in which you get to pick the greatest hustlers of the NBA.
Irony. A guy who screams at NBA players and coaches all game long makes an impassioned plea for quiet and thoughtfulness.