Team USA beat China 101-70 in the opening of their Olympic tour. China stayed tough for most of the first half, I was surprised by how well they played. Yao looked okay, especially for only being 60-70%. The key was really China just wearing down, the three point shot didn't fall near as much in the second half.
Team USA really has to work on: defending and making the three point shot. China shot 10-27 from three and while that is only 37%, it's something that helped China stay close in the first half. Team USA shot about 29% from three, Kobe the only starter that made a three. They can't just rely on Michael Redd, everyone has to take advantage of the short three point line. Dwight Howard's free throw shooting. I've noticed this in his play with Orlando, he's not a great shooter at all (3-5 in this game). I can see teams employing a "Hack-a-Howard" strategy in the medal round, something that should really concern Coach K. If teams force Howard off the floor, then depth at the frontline becomes a factor (a factor that team USA doesn't have an advantage in). If they get those two things down, they should fly through most of the preliminary round.
Next for team USA is Angola (Monday US time, Tuesday in Beijing). I saw a bit of Angola against Germany and they like to run the ball. Just like China, they shot three ball well. This will be a test and they should pass easily.
Photo by: Garrett Ellwood