Tayshaun (14), about as close to the action as he got all night (Getty Images)
After a tie game through 18 minutes, Team USA blew out China at the end of the second quarter and the entirety of the third, as Wade, Paul and James destroyed China’s slow backcourt. Tayshaun didn’t sniff the game in the first half. Even when the camera cut to the USA bench, most of the time Prince was off the screen, as he was seated, appropriately enough, in the last seat on the bench. He was the last USA player to enter the game, coming on at the start of the fourth quarter. Tayshaun played most of the fourth quarter, very uneventfully. He played good man defense, though once Yi Jianlian posted him up for a nice basket, and rarely touched the ball, as Deron Williams spent most of the quarter racing up the court, leaving Tay behind. Nothing happened that changed my mind that Tayshaun was named to the team to stay out other players’ way. He should see more action against Angola on the 12th, as the rout shouldn’t take 18 minutes to get started against the weak African team.
On a team made of the best basketball players in the world, LeBron James is still so clearly the best athlete on the floor. He played a terrific game.
Wade is back. He was arguably the best player on the floor, along with LeBron, Michael Redd and Deron Williams. Throw in Chris Bosh, and that might be a better starting line-up than the one that sputtered in the first quarter.
Team USA started the game 1/12 on three-pointers, a troubling sign considering China’s slow defense. Poor three-point shooting has been an Achilles heel in the past for Team USA. If they get off to a slow start against Angola, a team even worse than China, then it is officially cause for concern.