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gameface_one
08-23-2007, 05:38 PM
USA open Olympic qualifier with rout of Venezuela


Agence France-Presse

LAS VEGAS, Nevada - Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant made his international debut, scoring 14 points as the United States trounced Venezuela 112-69 in their opening match of the FIBA Americas 2008 Olympic qualifying tournament.

It was an auspicious start for the United States in group B, in which Brazil also opened with a win on Wednesday with a 75-67 triumph over Canada.

In group A, Uruguay defeated Panama 88-84 in overtime and Mexico downed Puerto Rico 100-89 on the opening day of play at the Thomas and Mack Center.

While the host team comprised of National Basketball Association stars are favorites to at least reach the final here and claim one of two Beijing Olympic berths on offer, all are aware that the United States have been humbled in recent major international tournaments.

They settled for sixth at the 2002 world championships, third at the 2004 Athens Olympics and third in Japan at last year's worlds, where champion Spain secured a berth for Beijing.

On Wednesday, however, it seemed the stars had aligned.

LeBron James dazzled the crowd with a rim-rattling dunk, Bryant set up a streaking Carmelo Anthony with a smooth behind-the-back pass for another poster-worthy slam and sharpshooter Michael Redd calmly drained his first 3-pointer.

Anthony and Redd each had a game-high 17 points, Amare Stoudemire added 16 points and the Americans shot 55 percent.

"We came out we great tempo," said guard Jason Kidd, who did not score because he didn't take any shots. "Everyone was talking and everyone was engaged. Each time we take the court, we will only get better."

The USA scored the first nine points and led by double digits for 34 of the 40 minutes, and turned the late stages into a virtual offensive exhibition.

"I really thought it was a good performance for our first game," said US coach Mike Krzyzewski. "It was really our first game together."

Leandro Barbosa scored 30 points, including a pair of running jumpers with under two minutes to play, to lift Brazil over Canada, who had tied the game 56-56 with seven minutes to play.

"We had good energy, especially in the beginning," said Phoenix Suns speedster Barbosa. "We made too many turnovers which helped put them back in the game."

cub
08-24-2007, 12:11 AM
2007 pa lang po.. :D

gameface_one
08-24-2007, 09:41 AM
^^^sorry, na-advance bigla. :)

gameface_one
08-25-2007, 08:58 AM
US crush Virgin Islands in Beijing Olympic qualifier



Agence France-Presse
Last updated 02:39pm (Mla time) 08/24/2007


LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- The US Dream Team celebrated National Basketball Association star Kobe Bryant's 29th birthday by crushing the Virgin Islands 123-59 in the FIBA Americas 2008 Olympic qualifying tournament on Thursday.

The United States posted their second Group B victory of the two-day-old tournament and underlined their position as favorites to take one of the two berths on offer here for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers superstar who is making his international debut at this event, marked his birthday with a modest nine points and four assists.

Michael Redd and Carmelo Anthony led the USA in scoring with 22 points apiece, followed by Amare Stoudemire and Mike Miller with 13 each.

Kevin Sheppard led the Virgin Islands with 11 points.

Argentina, who must also earn a berth to defend the Olympic title they won in Athens, opened their campaign with a 90-69 victory over Uruguay.

In other matches Thursday, Canada beat Venezuela 80-73 and Puerto Rico beat Panama 108-67.

Pablo Prigioni scored 20 points and handed out five assists for Argentina, while Luis Scolascored 16 points and Ramon Gonzalez added 15 and eight rebounds.

Samuel Dalembert scored 18 points, grabbed eight rebounds and had five blocks as Canada held off Venezuela.

Canada did receive some bad news, however, when they learned that guard Andrew Rautins suffered torn knee ligaments in Wednesday's loss to Brazil and will miss the rest of the tournament.

jayverns
08-25-2007, 11:45 PM
ilan ba ang Olympic slots na available para sa FIBA Americas?

gameface_one
08-26-2007, 08:00 AM
Undefeated Argentina beats Puerto Rico at Olympic qualifier


Agence France-Presse

LAS VEGAS, Nevada - Luis Scola scored 22 points and collected 11 rebounds as Argentina defeated Puerto Rico 87-75 in the FIBA Americas 2008 Olympic qualifying tournament on Friday.

The victory helped Argentina remain perfect at 2-0 after the third day of the international tournament.

The Argentines also got 15 points from Carlos Delfino, while Elias Ayuso led Puerto Rico with 21 points while Carlos Arroyo netted 20.

Puerto Rico (1-2) led by as much as 14 points in the first half before Argentina took over.

After connecting on nine-of-18 field goals in the opening period, Puerto Rico went just 17-of-56 (30 percent) the rest of the way.

In other games Friday, Brazil beat Venezuela 101-75, Canada dumped the Virgin Islands 93-83 and Panama topped Mexico 95-90.

Juan Mendez collected 22 points for Canada who rallied from a 27-23 deficit at the end of the first quarter.

Canada led by as many as 18, but the Virgin Islands battled back with the help of a series of three pointers.

The Virgin Islands shot 13-of-24 from beyond the arc (54 percent).

Canada outrebounded the Virgin Islands 39-28 and held a comfortable lead throughout the final period of play.

Panama posted its first win of the tournament, improving to 1-2 by thwarting Mexico.

The back-and-forth affair wasn't decided until the final minute, when missed three-pointers and made free throws would prove to be the difference.

"It was an important win for us," Jaime Lloreda said. "It showed our spirit to beat Mexico. Our goal is still to qualify for the next round. We used to beat Mexico by 10 or 20 points, but they showed how hard they can play."

Danilo Pinnock, who shot 11-of-13 from the free-throw line on Friday, nailed two to give Panama a 92-86 lead with 2:25 left.

"Yesterday, we were tight," Pinnock said. "Today, we came out and played good defense. We are not a slow-tempo team. We really don't want to play slow too much. We can play slow if we have to. But we are the smallest team by far, so we want to run."

gameface_one
08-27-2007, 12:38 PM
US pros crush Canada
mb.com.ph





LAS VEGAS (AP) — The United States turned up the defense and turned away Canada.


The Americans held the Canadians to just two field goals in a dominant second quarter, pulling away for a 113-63 victory Saturday to remain unbeaten in the FIBA Americas tournament.

Also Saturday, Leandro Barbosa increased his tournament-leading scoring average with 36 points and Brazil hung on for a 93-89 victory over the U.S. Virgin Islands, Uruguay clung on in frantic final seconds to beat Puerto Rico 82-79, and Argentina downed Mexico 104-83.

Carmelo Anthony scored 25 points but the U.S. couldn’t shake Canada until it tightened its defense after a competitive first quarter.

Brazil’s win sets up Sunday’s meeting of unbeatens as Brazil (3-0) faces the United States (3-0) on the final day of the first round. The winner will be the top seed from the five-team group heading into the four-game second round. The top two finishers in the 10-team tournament earn berths in the Beijing Olympics.

The Americans reached 100 points less than 2 1-2 minutes into the fourth quarter and are averaging 116 in the tournament _ not far off the record 121.2 the Dream Team put up in 1992.

Olumuyiwa Famutimi scored 17 points for Canada (2-2), who were playing for the fourth straight day and were overwhelmed by the deeper Americans, who had Friday off.

The U.S. Virgin Islands (0-3) team was setting up the biggest upset of the tournament when it took a 45-33 lead over Brazil in the second quarter, and was still ahead 48-41 at halftime.

Brazil finally found its shooting touch and starting playing defense in a dominant third quarter in which it outscored the Virgin Islands 31-15.

Brazil increased the lead to 15 points in the last quarter before its opponent had one final rally.

Esteban Batista had 34 points and 15 rebounds in Uruguay’s narrow victory over Puerto Rico.

Uruguay (2-1) rallied behind its big man to overcome a 48-29 halftime deficit, taking the lead for good on Batista’s second straight rebound basket that made it 78-76 with 1:02 left.

Three of four free throws over the next 50 seconds gave Uruguay an 81-76 lead, before Larry Ayuso hit a 3-pointer with 7.3 seconds left to bring Puerto Rico (1-3) within two.

Nicolas Mazzarino made one of two free throws with 5.8 seconds left to give Uruguay an 82-79 lead and set up the frantic finish.

Uruguay decided to foul before Puerto Rico had a chance to get off a possible game-tying 3-pointer. Mazzarino fouled Jose Juan Barea near midcourt with 2.6 seconds left and Puerto Rico was screaming he was in the act of shooting. NBA referee Eddie F. Rush stood by his call that Barea was not in the act.

Barea, who plays for Dallas, missed the first free throw. He missed the second intentionally. Puerto Rico’s Angelo Reyes came up with the loose ball about 15 feet from the basket, stepped back and shot a 3 that bounced off the rim as the buzzer sounded.

Barea, returning from a two-game suspension from FIBA after he was ejected in the opening game for yelling at an official, had 18 points to lead Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico, which concluded its first round with this game, will have to wait for Sunday’s results to see if it advances to the second round. Mexico (1-2), which faces Uruguay on Sunday, and Panama (1-2), which plays Argentina on Sunday, also could finish with three losses.

Puerto Rico lost to Mexico and beat Panama if it comes down to a head-to-head tiebreaker, but if three teams are involved, point differential comes into play.

The top four teams from each five-team pool advance to the second round.

Carlos Delfino had 20 points and 11 rebounds and was one of four Argentina players with at least three 3-pointers in a 104-83 victory over Mexico that clinched the top spot for the South Americans in the first-round pool.

Romel Beck had 24 points, 20 in the first half, for Mexico (1-2), which has allowed at least 89 points in each of its games.

Argentina closes first-round play Sunday against Panama, but even a loss wouldn’t knock it from the top spot because Uruguay (2-1), which plays Mexico on Sunday, is the only team in the group that can reach three wins and Argentina beat them for the head-to-head tiebreaker.

gameface_one
08-28-2007, 10:56 PM
Anthony lifts undefeated USA over Mexico


Agence France Presse


LAS VEGAS, United States - The United States got its biggest challenge at the 2007 FIBA Americas Championship, but it didn't prevent another lopsided victory.


Carmelo Anthony continued to dominate this Olympic Games qualifying event, scoring 28 points as the United States pulled away for a 127-100 victory over Mexico in the opening game of the second round for both clubs at the Thomas and Mack Center.

LeBron James and Dwight Howard scored 19 points apiece for the Americans (4-0), who will face Puerto Rico on Tuesday.

The Puerto Ricans stunned the Americans at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece.

Puerto Rico (1-3) surprised Brazil, 97-75, on Monday.

In other second round matches Monday, Canada rolled over Uruguay 95-88 and Argentina hammered Venezuela 98-63.

Battling through a poor shooting night, Kobe Bryant again dug in defensively to set the tone for the United States. Bryant, who is a two-time scoring champion in the NBA, scored 21 points on just five-of-13 shooting.

Team USA plowed through the preliminary round, winning its first four contests by at least 37 points - including a 113-76 victory over previously undefeated Brazil on Sunday.

Guided by former US college coach Nolan Richardson, the Mexicans do not have the firepower of the Brazilians, who boast three NBA players. But Mexico played hard nonetheless, trailing by just 14 points at halftime.

The United States, which allowed its most points so far this tournament, outscored Mexico, 62-49, in the second half to secure the victory.

Romel Beck Castro scored 20 points for Mexico (1-3), which will face Brazil on Tuesday.

Roman Gonzalez scored 21 points as Argentina easily posted a victory over Venezuela.

Carlos Delfino added 19 points and 11 rebounds for defending Olympic champion Argentina, which looked much better on the first day of the second round. It struggled to a 109-92 overtime victory over Panama Sunday.

Jesse Young scored 22 points and Jermaine Anderson added 13 as Canada opened the second level of this Olympic-qualifying event with a win over Uruguay.

gameface_one
08-29-2007, 07:33 AM
US gets biggest challenge vs Mexico, but still gets win



Agence France-Presse
Last updated 03:43pm (Mla time) 08/28/2007


LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- The United States got its biggest challenge at the 2007 FIBA Americas Championship, but it didn't prevent another lopsided victory.

Carmelo Anthony continued to dominate this Olympic Games qualifying event, scoring 28 points as the United States pulled away for a 127-100 victory over Mexico in the opening game of the second round for both clubs at the Thomas and Mack Center.

LeBron James and Dwight Howard scored 19 points apiece for the Americans (4-0), who will face Puerto Rico on Tuesday.

The Puerto Ricans stunned the Americans at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece.

Puerto Rico (1-3) surprised Brazil, 97-75, on Monday.

In other second round matches Monday, Canada rolled over Uruguay 95-88 and Argentina hammered Venezuela 98-63.

Battling through a poor shooting night, Kobe Bryant again dug in defensively to set the tone for the United States. Bryant, who is a two-time scoring champion in the NBA, scored 21 points on just five-of-13 shooting.

Team USA plowed through the preliminary round, winning its first four contests by at least 37 points -- including a 113-76 victory over previously undefeated Brazil on Sunday.

Guided by former US college coach Nolan Richardson, the Mexicans do not have the firepower of the Brazilians, who boast three NBA players. But Mexico played hard nonetheless, trailing by just 14 points at halftime.

The United States, which allowed its most points so far this tournament, outscored Mexico, 62-49, in the second half to secure the victory.

Romel Beck Castro scored 20 points for Mexico (1-3), which will face Brazil on Tuesday.

Roman Gonzalez scored 21 points as Argentina easily posted a victory over Venezuela.

Carlos Delfino added 19 points and 11 rebounds for defending Olympic champion Argentina, which looked much better on the first day of the second round. It struggled to a 109-92 overtime victory over Panama Sunday.

Jesse Young scored 22 points and Jermaine Anderson added 13 as Canada opened the second level of this Olympic-qualifying event with a win over Uruguay.

gameface_one
08-29-2007, 05:00 PM
USA, Argentina book semi-final berths in pre-Olympic tournament


Agence France-Presse

LAS VEGAS, Nevada - The United States and Argentina clinched semi-final berths in the FIBA Americas 2008 Olympic qualifying tournament Tuesday as they remained unbeaten in the competition.

Argentina secured their spot in Saturday's semi-finals with a display of their offensive depth, cruising past Canada 85-70.

The United States, with National Basketball Association stars LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony leading the way, eased past Puerto Rico 117-78.

Cleveland Cavaliers star James scored 21 points while Los Angeles Lakers standout Bryant scored 14 and Anthony 17 while Michael Redd added 15.

Puerto Rico, coming off an upset of Brazil on Monday, was led by Elias Ayuso with 13 points and Carlos Arroyo with 12.

The United States blew open the game with a 35-12 spurt in the second quarter. With the game under control, James, Anthony and Bryant spent the fourth quarter on the bench, with ice on their knees.

The USA have two games left in the second round, including a showdown with Argentina to conclude the round on Thursday.

That game will determine the top two seeds in the next round and could possibly be a preview of Sunday's title game.

The tournament, whose 10 teams were whittled to eight for the quarter-final group, will send two teams to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The countries finishing in third through fifth place will get another chance to qualify next July.

Luis Scola scored 23 points to lead five players in double digits for Argentina. Carlos Delfino scored 15 points, Leonardo Gutierrez added 12 and Roman Gonzalez added 11 and 11 rebounds.

Paolo Quinteros scored 10 points for Argentina, who led from the outset and held a double-digit lead throughout the second half.

"We may look back and see that this is the second most important game of the tournament," Delfino said. "It was like a second final. The United States and ourselves have put a little distance between us and the other teams in the standings."

Brazil rebounded from their loss to Puerto Rico on Monday with what could be a tournament-salvaging performance with a 104-90 victory over Mexico.

Phoenix Suns guard Leandro Barbosa, the event's leading scorer through five games, had a team-high 21 points for Brazil as they made 15-of-18 shots in the third quarter.

The tournament's eight teams will be trimmed to four semi-finalists after Thursday's conclusion of the second round. With the United States and Argentina in, that leaves two spots for six nations - a major wakeup call for Barbosa and his teammates.

Nene of the Denver Nuggets had 17 points and seven rebounds, while Murilo Da Rosa scored 15 points.

Romel Beck scored a game-high 29 points for Mexico, who couldn't overcome 15 turnovers.

Hector Romero led Venezuela on a run late in the fourth quarter, helping the club hold off Uruguay 88-79.

Venezuela, who led by as many as 22 points during the third quarter and 15 early in the fourth, had only a 79-78 lead after Uruguay's Leandro Garcia nailed a 3-pointer near the two-minute mark.

Venezuela's Carlos Cedeno answered with a layup with 1:13 left that increased the advantage to 81-78, but Uruguay's Nicolas Mazzarino sank a free throw with 1:01 to go, cutting the deficit to two. Romero then made four consecutive foul shots in a 25-second span as Venezuela grabbed an 85-79 lead with 19 seconds to play.

gameface_one
08-31-2007, 07:28 AM
Collision course



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SPORTING CHANCE By JOAQUIN M. HENSON
Philstar.com



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USA and Argentina are likely to face off in the finals of the FIBA-Americas Olympic qualifiers but the tournament’s only two unbeaten teams will test each other in the quarterfinals this morning (Manila time) as a prelude to a climactic ending.



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The Philippine Star

USA and Argentina are likely to face off in the finals of the FIBA-Americas Olympic qualifiers but the tournament’s only two unbeaten teams will test each other in the quarterfinals this morning (Manila time) as a prelude to a climactic ending.

Four of the eight quarterfinalists will move on to the semifinals. USA and Argentina, both toting 6-0 records, are already assured of slots in the knockout semifinals. Brazil (3-3), Canada (3-3), Puerto Rico (2-4) and Uruguay (2-4) are in contention for the last two tickets. Tail-enders Mexico (1-5) and Venezuela (1-5) are out of it.

While Friday’s USA-Argentina is non-bearing, two games to watch in the bill are Puerto Rico versus Canada and Brazil versus Uruguay. The quotient system will apply to break a tie if Puerto Rico beats Canada and Uruguay defeats Brazil so the winning margins in both games are crucial.

If USA beats Argentina, it will play the No. 4 qualifier in the semis. If USA and Argentina survive the semis, they’ll officially qualify for the Beijing Olympics and meet again in the finals on Monday (Manila time).

Beating USA twice in a row may be next to impossible so Argentina could just go through the motions Friday. Argentina would rather take its chances and play hard against USA in the finals, not in the quarterfinals.

Argentina’s winning margin so far is 18.3 points compared to the USA’s 42.7. There’s no more explosive team than coach Mike Krzyzewski’s squad which is averaging 117.6 points in the tournament. Argentina’s scoring clip is 94.1. But the disparity in points given up is tantalizingly close. USA is surrendering 73.7 points while Argentina, 75.9, meaning they’re just about equally tough in defense. That makes for an interesting matchup because USA prefers to win with offense than defense. How USA will stand up to Argentina’s defense remains to be seen.

USA hasn’t been threatened at all. Its smallest winning margin was 27 against Mexico. Argentina, in contrast, beat Brazil by seven, Puerto Rico by 12 and Canada by 15. USA demolished Brazil by 37 and Puerto Rico by 39. From those comparisons, USA should beat Argentina by at least 20.

What’s going against Argentina is the absence of key players Manu Ginobili, Fabricio Oberto, Pepe Sanchez, Walter Hermann, Andres Nocioni and Ruben Wolkowyski – all NBA veterans who saw action on the fourth place team at the World Championships last year.

Only three players from Argentina’s gold medal team in the 2004 Athens Olympics are in the FIBA-Americas roster – Luis Scola, Carlos Delfino and Leonardo Gutierrez. In Athens, Argentina beat USA, 89-81, in the semis then crushed Italy, 84-69, for the gold medal. Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James and Amare Stoudemire are the three USA holdovers from the Olympic bronze medal team.

Only four players from Argentina’s last World Championship squad are back – Scola, Delfino, Gutierrez and Pablo Prigioni. By the way, the 6-8 Scola was recently signed by the Houston Rockets. Delfino, a 6-7 guard, plays for the Toronto Raptors.

It’s no wonder Scola and Delfino are showing the way for Argentina in the FIBA-Americas qualifiers. Scola is averaging 17.8 points and Delfino, 15.6. Others averaging in twin digits are 6-2 Paolo Quinteros (13.4) and 6-11 Roman Gonzalez (11.1). Both Delfino and Quinteros are hitting over 40 percent from three-point distance. Seven Argentine players are imports in the Spanish league. Antonio Porta, a 6-2 guard, plays in Russia.

At the World Championships last year, USA got back at Argentina, scoring a 96-81 decision in the battle for third place. Argentina lost a one-point squeaker to eventual world titlist Spain in the semis. By virtue of winning the title, Spain gained an automatic ticket to Beijing.

For USA , James has been phenomenal in his shot selection, shooting .797 from the floor and .700 from three-point range (14-of-20 triples). King James is USA’s second leading scorer with a 16.7 clip. Anthony’s average is 21.6 after sitting out the game against Uruguay yesterday.

James registered a perfect shooting game in mowing down Uruguay. He was 11-of-11 from the field, including 4-of-4 treys, and wound up with 26 points. The remarkable thing was he did it in only 14 minutes of playing time.

In Beijing, Argentina is expected to bring back its big guns in attempting to defend the title. USA, however, will be the logical choice to capture the gold, what with coach K finally getting the NBA stars comfortable in playing the international style.

gameface_one
08-31-2007, 07:31 AM
USA, Argentina remain unbeaten in pre-Olympic tourney



Agence France-Presse
Last updated 01:27pm (Mla time) 08/30/2007


LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James put on a show worthy of Las Vegas Wednesday, scoring 26 points in the United States' 118-79 victory over Uruguay in the FIBA Americas Olympic qualifying tournament.

Uruguay had the temerity to take an early lead, but the United States quickly erased it and led by more than 30 points for most of the second half. They forced 16 turnovers and shot 64 percent to remain unbeaten in the tournament.

James led five US players in double figures. Amare Stoudemire of the Phoenix Suns added 19 points, Deron Williams of the Utah Jazz chipped in 14 and Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant 13.

Argentina needed overtime to beat Brazil 86-79 and remain undefeated.

The defending Olympic champions trailed by double digits in the second half but persevered to force overtime and seize the victory.

Luis Scola of the Houston Rockets, and guard Leonardo Gutierrez each had five points in overtime, including a 3-pointer by Gutierrez with 2:33 to play to give Argentina the lead for good.

"It was satisfying to beat a very good Brazil team," Argentina coach Sergio Hernandez said. "When things weren't good, we stayed together and showed patience."

Scola scored 23 points, Gutierrez added 19 and Carlos Delfino of the Toronto Raptors netted 17.

Like the United States, Argentina had qualified for the semi-finals on Tuesday. They will close out the quarter-final group round with a showdown against the USA in a game that could be a preview of the title contest.

The United States beat Argentina last summer in the bronze-medal game at the World Championships in Japan but lost in the semi-finals of the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

"Maybe we lose by 50 or maybe we win," Scola said. "But we have to compete. That is why we are here. You don't worry about the names, you worry about the teamwork, and we have that."

Scola said a defeat against Brazil heading into the contest against the USA would have been unacceptable.

"We are here to compete without regard to the standings," Scola said. "We played two games today. The first half, we played with no heart or passion. In the second half, even though we were losing, we were playing better."

Brazil have dropped three of their last four games, but are still in position to reach the semi-finals if they can beat Uruguay on Thursday.

The two finalists from this 10-nation tournament will book their berths for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The teams finishing third through fifth will have another chance to qualify next July.

Canada inched closer to a semi-final berth with a 97-80 victory over Mexico. On Thursday they will face Puerto Rico, who routed Venezuela 92-63 to keep their slim hopes of advancing alive.

gameface_one
09-01-2007, 11:52 AM
Bryant sizzles as US stays perfect at Olympic qualifier



Agence France-Presse
Last updated 02:48pm (Mla time) 08/31/2007


LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- Kobe Bryant scored 27 points, including 15 in the first quarter, as the US easily beat Argentina 91-76 to keep their perfect record intact at the FIBA America's Olympic qualifying tournament.

The Americans led 49-30 at the half in the battle of the tournament's only remaining undefeated teams in front of a crowd of about 5,500 at the Thomas and Mack Center arena on Thursday.

But any notion that Argentina would pose the first real test to the American's team of NBA stars was dismissed in the opening quarter of the second round match thanks to Bryant's dynamic performance.

"It is not about making LeBron James happy or Kobe Bryant happy or Carmelo Anthony happy," said James, who had 15 points and six rebounds.

“It is not about making one guy happy and getting him the most shots. It is about sharing the ball and winning the gold medal. If somebody scores we congratulate him and move on. If we share the ball we give ourselves a good chance,” said Anthony.

With the win the US moves on as the No. 1 seed in the semi-finals where they will face Puerto Rico which beat Canada earlier Thursday 72-66.

The Americans have yet to be challenged and are now a perfect 7-0.

Argentina, was playing without four NBA stars, Manu Ginobili, Fabricio Oberto, Andres Nocioni and Walter Herrmann, will now focus on winning their next match against Brazil for a berth in the Beijing Games.

Vocal group of about 150 Argentina fans, wearing their team's blue and white colors, kept up a steady cheer and even drowned out some of the chants of USA, USA at the Las Vegas arena.

Carlos Arroyo scored a game-high 22 points including four from three point range as Puerto Rico beat Canada.

flsfnoeraekadad
09-02-2007, 09:04 AM
The Puerto Ricans were man-slaughtered by the Team USA, 135-91. Melo and Michael Redd combined for 13-15 3FG. The Americans put a second half blaze and the Puerto Ricans were just contented seeing the USA blow them out big.

jayverns
09-02-2007, 12:30 PM
USA and Argentina will meet in the 2007 FIBA Americas finals, Brazil bowed to Argentina 91-80.

gameface_one
09-03-2007, 07:33 AM
US, Argentina on to Beijing
mb.com.ph




LAS VEGAS, Nevada (AFP) — Carmelo Anthony had a game-high 27 points and Michael Redd scored all 23 of his in the second half as the United States hammered Puerto Rico 135-91 to book a spot in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.


Once again the heavily-favored US dominated their opponents and kept their perfect record intact in the FIBA America’s Olympic qualifying tournament by winning their ninth straight game in Las Vegas.

‘’It was a real yeoman’s performance,’’ American coach Mike Krzyzewski said. ‘’We will be better prepared for China after being together these few weeks.’’

The United States moves on to Sunday’s anticlimactic final to face Argentina which also booked its berth in next summer’s Olympics by beating Brazil 91-80.

LeBron James had 19 points and nine assists as six Americans reached double figures against Puerto Rico in front of a crowd of about 7,000 at the Thomas and Mack Center arena.

‘’We are excited,’’ said Kobe Bryant, who had 12 points. ‘’We knew Puerto Rico would come out firing, so we wanted to apply lots of pressure. We got that halftime lead and then it was a matter of establishing ourselves in the third.’’

The US are the early pick to win the gold in Beijing, but have underachieved in recent major international competitions.

They finished sixth in the 2002 Worlds and third in the 2004 Olympics and 2006 World Championships.

But there would be no repeat on Saturday of Puerto Rico’s miracle victory over the US at the 2004 Olympics.

‘’We had that memory in the back of our minds,’’ Anthony said. ‘’We are on the right path to our goal of winning the Olympics.

‘’In some ways I like the international game better than the NBA games.’’

Especially when you are winning. The United States shot 70 percent, including 23-of-36 from three-point range in posting their third most lopsided victory of the tournament. They beat the Virgin Islands 123-59 in the opening round.

After not attempting a single field goal in the first half, Redd took over in the second half. He shot 80 percent from the field and dished out three assists to nailed seven of eight three pointers.

The US took the lead for good almost from the beginning and led by as much as 47 points in the fourth quarter.

They came out with plenty of spark in the second quarter going on a 12-5 run in the first five minutes.

The Americans led 57-42 at halftime and by 30 points at the end of the third quarter.

The US would have liked to have earned an automatic berth to Beijing with a gold medal at the Worlds in Japan this summer, but a loss to unheralded Greece in the semi-finals meant they would have to come through the backdoor in Vegas.

‘’We would rather have won in Greece but this preparation helps us in our pursuit of gold,’’ Krzyzewski said. ‘’We are ecstatic about qualifying for the Olympics. Now we would like to finish off this tournament by playing well.’’

So far the US has met the high expectations as it strives to prove its supremacy in basketball at the international level. Players like Bryant, Anthony and James are not exactly playing with chips on their shoulders but they are focussed and determined.

‘’Nobody feels pressure to qualify for the Olympics,’’ Bryant said.

Said Krzyzewski, ‘’There is a sense of commitment from all these guys. I have been pleased with the way they blended together. There are a lot of preconceived ideas about who some of these players are. But they are the most unselfish group. I have not had one second of a problem.’’

Luis Scola scored 27 points and collected nine rebounds as Argentina beat Brazil earlier in the day to became the first to punch their ticket to Beijing.

Carlos Delfino also had 13 points, three steals and four assists for Argentina in front of a sparse crowd of about 2,000.

‘’It has been a long week,’’ said Argentina head coach Sergio Hernandez. ‘’I am very excited. Our third quarter today was our best.’’

Saturday’s first semi-final was a rematch of Wednesday’s second-round thriller won 86-79 in overtime by Argentina, who are missing most of their best players in Las Vegas.

But the depleted Argentina squad benefited from a rest day on Friday after playing eight consecutive games through the first two rounds of the 10team tournament.

‘’We needed that day of rest because our only other day off was the first day of the tournament,’’ Hernandez said.

BLUE HORSE
09-03-2007, 09:23 AM
The NBA all stars stamped their class in this tournament. Lampaso ang inabot ng kalaban. It will be more difficult in Beijing when all the top countries send their best players. Can coach K and David Stern keep the high level of performance shown by the NBA players.

CM_Punk
09-04-2007, 12:07 AM
Olympics 2008 in Beijing will be where the true competition begins, with the strong European teams sending their top players to compete for the gold medal, with the other international teams also present.

I expect the upcoming Fiba Europe tournament to be more competitive than the Fiba Americas, where team USA was just dominant.

gameface_one
09-04-2007, 07:46 AM
James scores 30 as USA routs Argentina

Agence France Presse

LAS VEGAS, Nevada - LeBron James put on another shooting clinic in a 118-81 rout of Argentina as the United States locked up a tournament gold medal to go with an Olympic berth at the FIBA Americas Championship on Sunday.

James, who had a perfect night against Uruguay earlier in the tournament by hitting all 11 of his field goals, led the heavily-favored Americans with four three pointers in the third quarter and capped off his night with a game high 31 points.

Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard also looked unstoppable, springboarding the US to a 25-point lead at the half in front of a crowd of about 9,000 at the Thomas and Mack Center arena. Anthony finished with 16 points and eight rebounds and Howard had 20 points and five rebounds.

The Americans and defending Olympic champion Argentina were playing for FIBA Americas bragging rights as both countries had already clinched berths in the basketball tournament for next summer's Beijing Olympics.

Elias Ayuso scored 39 points and Carlos Arroyo had 30 and 10 assists as Puerto Rico beat Brazil 111-107 for the bronze medal earlier in the day.

USA and Argentina join China (host country), Spain (world champion), Iran (Asia), New Zealand (Oceania), Angola (Africa) in the 2008 Olympic Games.

Brazil, Puerto Rico, and Canada will get another chance to qualify at a 12-team 2008 FIBA Olympic qualifying tournament next July in which three more countries will punch their tickets to China.

The US were never seriously challenged at this zone qualifying tournament and heading into the final their 39.2 average margin of victory is one of the highest in tournament history.

Win or lose the Argentina fans danced and cheered throughout the game as they took up their familiar section in the east end of the lower bowl. They climbed on their seats, toasted each other, pumped their fists and waived their country's blue and white colors.

bigfreeze_bibby
09-05-2007, 07:09 AM
Sir, it's Austalia who will qualify from the Oceania region as they've beaten New Zealand in their three-game qualification meet held 2 weeks ago.

gameface_one
09-05-2007, 09:24 AM
Wrong pick for MVP



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SPORTING CHANCE By JOAQUIN M. HENSON
Philstar.com



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Clearly, the MVP had to come from the unbeaten US squad that lorded it over the tournament from start to finish. You couldn’t look anywhere else for the MVP because the US was by far the superior team of all. Choosing the MVP from the runner-up team that lost by 37 in the finals defies justification.



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The Philippine Star

Believe it or not, Argentina’s Luis Scola was voted MVP in the just-concluded FIBA-Americas Olympic qualifiers in Las Vegas.

Argentina lost twice to the US in the 10-team tournament, by 15 in the quarterfinals and by 37 in the finals. Scola wound up averaging 19.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 29 minutes in 10 games.

No doubt, the 6-8 center-forward was Argentina’s go-to guy. Coach Sergio Hernandez leaned on Scola in the absence of six NBA veterans (Manu Ginobili, Fabricio Oberto, Pepe Sanchez, Ruben Wolkowisky, Andres Nocioni, Walter Hermann) who opted to sit out the qualifiers.

But to name Scola MVP and rob LeBron James or any other US star of the honor is downright unconscionable.

Clearly, the MVP had to come from the unbeaten US squad that lorded it over the tournament from start to finish. You couldn’t look anywhere else for the MVP because the US was by far the superior team of all. Choosing the MVP from the runner-up team that lost by 37 in the finals defies justification.

James, 22, is my choice as MVP. In the tournament, he ranked 10th in scoring (18.1), second in assists (4.7), second in field goal percentage (.760-teammate Dwight Howard shot .814 but took 53 less shots), first in three-point field goal percentage (.622) and eighth in steals (1.5). James also grabbed 3.6 rebounds a game.

There was no more dominant player than King James. Whenever he drove the lane, defenders backed off to show their respect for His Majesty. In the finals, James erupted for 31 points on 11-of-15 field goals, including 8-of-11 from three-point distance. Against Uruguay, he posted a perfect game-11-of-11 from the floor, including 4-of-4 triples for 26 points.

The remarkable thing was despite his explosive scoring, James topped the US team in assists, outshining point guards Jason Kidd, Chuancey Billups and Deron Williams whose chief role was to distribute the ball. It’s a tribute to King James that he managed to compile his stats even as he had to share the spotlight with such marquee teammates as Carmelo Anthony and Kobe Bryant. For that alone, he deserves credit.

Scola had it a lot easier because his teammates deferred to him. Sure, he was seventh in scoring and sixth in rebounding in the tournament but his stats in other key departments where James excelled were insignificant.

Maybe, Scola got the nod because whoever had the job of choosing the MVP couldn’t make up his mind which US player to pick. Anthony or Bryant or James? So to avoid a debate, the vote went to Scola. How idiotic was that?

Scola, 27, was drafted by San Antonio in the second round in 2002 but will only make his NBA debut this season with the Houston Rockets. He recently inked a $7.45 million three-year contract to play for the Rockets.

The US’ average winning margin was a whopping 39.5 points, scoring 116.7 a game. Only once was coach Mike Krzyzewski’s team held to less than 100-91 by Argentina in the quarterfinals. The Americans went over the 120-point mark thrice.

James and Anthony were the only holdovers from the US team that finished third in the last Olympics and World Championships. From the way the US played in Las Vegas, it wouldn’t be surprising if coach K retains the nucleus for the Beijing Olympics.

The only players in danger of losing their spots are Williams (to Kirk Hinrich), Mike Miller (to Shane Battier), Tyson Chandler (to Chris Bosh) and Tayshaun Prince (to Lamar Odom).

What the US team showed in Las Vegas was unselfish play. Coach K did an incredible job of convincing the NBA stars to accept the principle that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The Americans played as a unit, sacrificing their personal glory for the good of the team. They left their egos in the NBA.

Bryant, for instance, took only six shots in the finals (James launched 15 and Anthony, 12) but walked away smiling with eight assists. In the quarterfinals against Argentina, Kidd attempted only once and couldn’t care less about his points – he was happy with seven assists in 18 minutes.

Fresh from the Las Vegas wars, Bryant is in town Wednesday to launch his Supernatural Asia Tour for Nike. From Manila, Bryant will fly to Taipei, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing.

Bryant’s new Nike shoe will hit the Asian market Thursday.

Howard the Duck
09-05-2007, 07:31 PM
Wrong pick for MVP



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SPORTING CHANCE By JOAQUIN M. HENSON
Philstar.com
Kobe and LBJ split the MVP vote in the U.S. vote so Scola won