After a slow start, Team USA was able to dominate France in this afternoon’s Olympic opener. Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler made significant contribution’s to the 98-71 victory over Tony Parker and France.
It was only right that Carmelo Anthony’s first bucket was an 18-foot jumper, the one we’ve seen countless times. His persistent hustle was evident from the second he checked in the game, and he maintained it until the second he checked out. He went after every board possible with tenacity I can’t say I’ve ever seen him play with, most notably on a Chandler free throw miss. He wasn’t able to get his hands on the rebound, but you couldn’t say a single thing because he gave pure effort and hustle on the play. Unfortunately, after receiving his 3rd foul on a defensive play in the post, Carmelo would head to the bend midway through the second quarter, and would stay put. Returning to the game with 7 minutes left in the the 3rd, Anthony picked up right where he left off. Knowing he needs to be a rebounder in this small lineup, he’s been an absolute beast under the basket. On the down side, he struggled putting the ball in the hoop, shooting just 3-8 from the field and 0-2 from beyond the arc. His most notable bucket came when LeBron James found him wide open on a cut to the basket. His play on the post was impressive. We didn’t see much of it, but he was able to draw a foul on a spectacular spin move against two defenders. His defense in the post was another story, but he was able to pick it up as the game went on. Carmelo Anthony finished the game with 9 points, 9 rebounds (3OR, 6 DR), and 1 steal.
A lot of pressure comes with being the lone “true” center on the USA basketball squad, but Tyson Chandler handled it beautifully this afternoon in team’s Olympic opener. As a basketball fan, you should know that Chandler is an all out competitor, and his overwhelming agression usually leads to foul trouble, which is a recurring problem when you’re limited to 5 personal fouls. Well, Tyson Chandler turned a new leaf this afternoon and exemplified smart basketball as he was able to escape the half with just 1 foul. In fact, 7 other Team USA players had more personal fouls than Tyson Chandler at the half. With that said, it was only fitting that Tyson Chandler began the game with a lob, something Knicks fans have seen time and time again. His relentless work under the basket is, and was in fact, a huge factor in today’s matchup as he pulled down 9 boards- tied for a team high. He also did a great job of getting to the line early on, but was able to knock down just 2/5- something that needs to improve. Just 1 block was recorded, but his interior presence was felt as he protected the paint. Finishing the game with 8 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 block, the 7’1 center made notable contributions in the 27-point victory.