Team USA improved to 7-0 after defeating Uruguay 118-79.
Carmelo Anthony did not play due to a bruised right heal suffered against Puerto Rico. Michael Redd took his place in the starting lineup, marking his first start. That meant Redd was slotted in the small forward position, and LeBron James was pushed to power forward.
The decision to start Redd, coming off two rough shooting nights and playing out of his natural shooting guard position, reaffirmed how highly Team USA regards him. Redd scored 9 points on 3-6 shooting from the field and 2-4 on three-pointers in 24 minutes. He added two assists, two steals, and one rebound. The most important three games are yet to come, and Redd won’t be displacing Kobe Bryant in the starting lineup anytime soon. But he’s established himself in Team USA’s rotation to the extent that it will be borderline shocking if he doesn’t make the 2008 Olympic team.
James mesmerized in the first half, scoring 26 points on a perfect 11-11 from the field. Blending a deft outside stroke with his patented open-court virtuosity, he left his mark on the tournament and easily vaulted into the top spot of the previously discussed FIBA Americas MVP watch. Apparently Team USA’s staff either thought James played a game’s worth in the first half or felt bad for Uruguay because he didn’t play in the second half. Amazingly, James packed all of his production into just 14 first-half minutes.
Earlier, Argentina escaped with an overtime victory over Brazil. Team USA faces Argentina next in a game showcasing two undefeated teams on Thursday, August 30.