The first round of games in the Olympic men’s basketball tournament are now complete. Since this is a Knicks-only zone, let’s take a look at the three ‘Bockers reppin’ their countries in Rio.
USA 119, China 62
Carmelo Anthony: 20 minutes played, 9 points on 2-5 shooting (1-3 from three), 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 turnover, 1 block
Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant are similar players — scoring combo forwards who would rather play the 3 than the 4. It’s interesting to watch them play together, as they clearly take on very different responsibilities on the court. Durant is the clear-cut scoring wing (as he should be) and Melo takes on the burden of a power forward: tending the defensive glass (team-leading 6 defensive rebounds) and guarding bigs in the post. I enjoyed Melo’s work in frustrating a much larger Yi Jianlian when the 7-footer tried to back him down.
What do basketball fans usually say about undersized bigs who grab a lot of rebounds and out-muscle larger players? Tough, gritty, a real competitor. That’s Melo.
Lithuania 82, Brazil 76
Mindaugas Kuzminskas: 21 minutes played, 8 points on 2-5 shooting (1-3 from three), 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnover
Min Dauggy Daugg didn’t exactly light up the score sheet, but his coach gave him plenty of minutes and trusted him in crunch time as Lithuania held off a furious Brazilian comeback. His biggest moment was a nailing a crucial tip-back when the team badly needed a bucket to stop Brazil’s momentum.
Lithuania played at an extremely deliberate pace — probably too deliberate, by the end — and that really isn’t Kuzia’s game. Kid gets a lot of his points on the break. Hopefully Lithuania will play at a faster tempo at some point and we can see Mindaugas truly shine.
Croatia 72, Spain 70
Willy Hernangomez: 4 minutes player, 0 points on 0-3 shooting, 1 turnover, 2 personal fouls
Yikes. Still, I maintain that the basketball gods punished Spain for not giving Willy another chance in the second half.