Saturday, August 19, 2006

Keep Your Swerve On ‘Melo

(Boulder-CO) The USA Basketball team continues to ride the consistency of the Denver Nuggets’ Carmelo Anthony. ’Melo guided Team USA to their first win in the FIBA World Championships by scoring 21 points, dishing three assists, snaring two boards, and sneaking one steal in the opening game against Puerto Rico. This impressive stat line was all wrapped up within only twenty minutes of playing time.

The USA resumes play tomorrow against China. When Carmelo was asked about tomorrows match-up he had this in reply, “Tomorrow’s game is going to be even tougher than today’s game. I think China was in the stands today scouting us, so it’s going to be tough. We just have to be prepared and go out there and play hard.” Team USA needs to keep feeding Carmelo the ball. He is playing the best basketball of anyone on the team right now and seems to be perfectly suited for the style of international play.

When asked if this victory relieved some of the pressure that the USA Basketball team is under to return from these championships with the gold medal. Carmelo quickly and emphatically answered with, “No, no, no. No relief. This is one game under our belt. Tomorrow we have another one. We have to put this game behind us and get ready to play China.” Serious words from a player that was not utilized by the coaching staff in the 2004 Olympics. If there was ever any question of the goal of this FIBA World Championship Tournament for Team USA. Anthony’s reply to the last question should clear that up. This team is out for gold. Plain and simple.

Team USA does gets to taste a little bit of revenge as they avenge a loss to Puerto Rico suffered back in the opening game of the 2004 Olympics. The Puerto Rican team came out hot off the opening tip and had Team USA down by one after the end of the first period, but could not hold off the determined USA. Carmelo Anthony stepped up for the states by draining a three pointer and added two other buckets in the second quarter to help Team USA be up by five right before the half. Team USA never looked back and beat Puerto Rico 111-100.

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