New team. Same old result. Full of new star power — and dominant on the inside — the U.S. men’s basketball team opened its bid for a third straight Olympic gold medal Friday night with a 111-74 exhibition romp over Argentina. A game that was over almost before it began showed the U.S. has to improve its shooting and conditioning. It also showed that there is plenty of talent among a group of players that seem to want to play well for each other and their country despite the absence of Olympic stalwarts Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.
When the U.S. Olympic Team gathered Sunday night for its first meeting, Carmelo Anthony was asked to give a little speech. The Olympic coaching staff believes Anthony’s remarks set the tone for its training camp that ended with Friday’s 111-74 exhibition slaughter of decrepit Argentina at T-Mobile Arena. “I don’t like to do a lot of talking in those situations,’’ Anthony said this week at UNLV. “It was more just letting the guys know this process won’t be easy. I know we’re expected to win the gold and everyone wants to win the gold. We want to win the gold, but the process is not easy. I don’t want the guys to think just because we’re the best players in the world that we’re going to go out and it’s going to be easy because it’s not.’’
Storyline: Olympic Games
“A lot of people told me, ‘Don’t do it, don’t do it.’ For what?’’ Anthony said. “But I actually enjoy it. I’ve been a part of USA basketball since I was a junior or senior [in college]. I actually enjoy it, and it’s an opportunity to get another gold medal. I didn’t want to miss that opportunity. And you don’t have to have the same role as on your own team. That’s why guys like playing on the USA team because they don’t have to do as much. They just have a role and rely on everyone else — the best players in the world.’’