Doesn't look like there's going to be a report for Brazil-US Virgin Islands since NBA.com doesn't have a link for this game, or at least I can't find it in the usual spot it's been for the past three days. A pity, since so far it looks like a much more competitive game than Team USA vs. Canada was, but I suppose taking a game off won't kill me. After thirty minutes of waiting for the link to appear, I'm going to give up, post the report for Team USA, then go find something else to do for the remainder of the afternoon. For those in Arizona, it looks like Brazil-Virgin Islands is showing on FSN, so happy viewing. Update: AZCentral now has a link to the AP recap here and the boxscore on FIBA's website is here. Sounds like those of us at the mercy of the non-existent NBA.com feed missed out on seeing Leandro Barbosa's best game of the tournament so far, not to mention a nail-biting, competitive game (Grrrr...).
USA Over Canada by (113-63)
Ugh. I'm not sure what's worse, having to sit through yet another 50-point blowout, or having to endure Bill Walton's rendition of Oh Canada. It isn't that I'm not happy Team USA is the clear favorite to win this tournament, or that they look well-positioned to bring the gold back to this country next year for the first time since 2000. That is a great thing, really it is. It's just that I happen to like a little competitiveness and suspense with my basketball, and this rolling over everybody in the first two quarters thing just doesn't do it for me.
Once again, the USA faced a team that was hopelessly outmatched, especially missing one of their best players (Andy Routins who was injured in Wednesday's game against Brazil). The Canadians had it within seven at the end of the first quarter, but after that the rout was on. The USA led by 31 at the half, and by 46 after three. Like Bill Walton said while stating the obvious, "it's difficult to win when you're outscored every quarter".
As for the Suns report, Amare Stoudemire entered the game with four minutes left in the first quarter, so he was at least on the floor during the closest thing the game had to a "critical juncture". His first points came on free throws a couple of minutes into the second quarter, the first of a perfect 6-6 night from the line. He was a little off from the field by his standards, shooting only 3-7, after going a near-perfect 10-11 in the first two games. He finished up with 12 points, three rebounds, a steal, an assist, and one of the game's best highlights where he took a Chauncey Billups lob up and under for the reverse lay-in. Amare continues to blend in with the crowd for the most part, which is a bit disconcerting for Suns fans used to seeing him in a much more dominant role.
Player of the Game: Carmelo Anthony. In my opening day thread, I predicted that Kobe Bryant would find a way to rise to the top (by brute force or otherwise) to become "the man" on this team. Instead, Kobe has thus far been content to play within the concept of team ball to a tee, leaving the door open for Carmelo to take the lead. Whatever else he might be, there's no denying that Carmelo seems to have a knack for international ball. He again led the USA in scoring with 25 points on 9-12 shooting (including 3-4 from three), to go with four rebounds, an assist, a steal, and two blocks. He was also a perfect 4-4 from the line. Exactly the kind of stat line this spot was made for.
Runner-Up: I'm tempted to introduce a "must lose by no more than 50 points" restriction on this spot, but I won't (yet). Instead I'll give it to Olumuyiwa Famutimi, one of the few good things going for Canada in this game. He led his team in scoring with 17 points on 6-12 shooting (3-5 from three), and had three rebounds, two assists, and two steals.
Random Thoughts: Evidently, Bill Walton was as bored as I was during this game. He kept a running commentary going the entire time with various facts about Canada. Some of it was kind of interesting, but he crossed firmly into "please, stop!" territory in the fourth quarter when he started raving about the Canadian national anthem, then actually started singing it. I can say without a doubt that is something I never ever want to hear again. (Please, Brazil, make the game interesting tomorrow. For the sake of my ears and my sanity. Please!)