“I love it. You hate to breeze through exhibition games and then you get into London, and then you start getting competitive,” U.S. forward LeBron James said. “So we have a very good team. It doesn’t matter about how many points you win by, you just want to play well and get better that night, and I feel like we got better tonight.”
James spoke after the Americans blew a 20-point lead but gritted out an 86-80 win over Argentina. They liked the competition.
And, playing in Barcelona, site of the 1992 Games, they liked wearing the uniforms of the Dream Team of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, et al.
“The uniforms were nice,” said Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks. “In the locker room, everybody was taking pictures with the uniforms. It just brings back so many memories from back then in ’92.”
To be as effective as that squad, the USA has to continue to build on their exhibition play. Next up is Spain, pegged to be the Americans’ top threat to gold. It will be a challenge because, with Pau and Marc Gasol leading the way, the Spaniards have an advantage inside.
But the USA’s depth and skill can be overwhelming. Just ask Argentina’s Luis Scola.
“They’re immensely talented,” Scola said. “They’ve got a lot of players in every position. They’re too athletic, they’re too talented. I think they’re going to be OK.”
With Kevin Durnat, James and Kobe Bryant as primary scorers and other explosive talents on the roster, Team USA will have little trouble scoring. And they believe their defensive pressure and ability to cover ground will be dominant.
“It’s coming together,” Bryant said. “We’ve still got work to do, but we’re going to be all right.”