Two days after Team USA scored a blistering 156 points in a record-shattering 83-point win over Nigeria, the mens hoops team barely outlasted Lithuania for a 99-94 win.
Over the past week, the Americans had looked invincible. They won their first three pool games by an average of 52.2 points and played so well that they canceled their last two practices and to support other American Olympic athletes. Few expected their contest against Lithuania to be different.
However, Lithuania's led by Linas Kleiza had different plans.
The tension and drama was palpable inside an arena packed with Lithuania supporters until the closing minutes. There was one team that could not miss and another team that missed a lot, only this time, the Americans went cold.
Fortunately, LeBron James scored nine of his 20 points in the final four minutes for the U.S. (4-0). Carmelo Anthony added 20 points, Kevin Durant 16 and Chris Paul added seven rebounds, six assists and four of the U.S. team's 17 steals.
Team USA are favorites for the gold medal that they have won in 13 of the 16 occasions it has been contested. The only exceptions were in 1972 when Russia knocked them out by a single point; in the American boycott of 1980 (related to politics, not the previous defeat); and eight years ago when Argentina sprang a surprise by beating them in the semi-final and went on to the take the gold medal.
This time Spain, who the Americans beat in the Beijing final, and play in Great Britain's Group B, are again regarded as their strongest rivals, with Argentina and Brazil leading the South American challenge.
If Spain continues to play like they're supposed to, it's likely we will see USA and Spain yet again fighting for the gold.
The Spanish feature a frontcourt of brothers Marc and Pau Gasol and Serge Ibaka, a dangerous core that have an advantage over Americans Tyson Chandler and Kevin Love.
Take that physical edge down low with the fact that this Spanish team defends the three-pointer well and you have a group that can certainly give Team USA a run for their money.
You've probably heard enough Dwight Howard rumors this summer to make your head spin, so it's understandable why common sense has fallen by the wayside when it comes to discussing the Orlando Magic's disgruntled center.
Here are the facts, though: if Howard gets traded during this offseason, he'll go to either the Los Angeles Lakers or Dallas Mavericks. If he doesn't get traded during this offseason (but gets traded before the end of the year), he'll go to the Brooklyn Nets.
End. Of. Story.
Forget all of the rumors that were floating around regarding the Houston Rockets or Atlanta Hawks being on the Magic's radar as potential trade partners; stop perpetuating the myth that staying in Orlando is a feasible option.
None of that is going to happen. The choices as far as how this horrible NBA-love-story-gone-wrong can and will end are very limited.
Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Love scored 16 points apiece to lead the American men to a 110-63 victory over Tunisia in the Olympic basketball tournament on Tuesday.
Kevin Durant recorded 13 points, 10 rebounds and five assists for Team USA (2-0), while Russell Westbrook and James Harden totaled 11 and 10 points, respectively.
"We started slow in the first half, but we figured it out," Anthony said.
Makram Ben Romdhane paced Tunisia (0-2) with a game-high 22 points. Playing in its maiden Games, Tunisia grabbed its first-ever lead in Olympic competition when Amine Rzig drained a three-pointer after Kobe Bryant had opened the scoring with a shot from inside the paint.
Mourad El Mabrouk made two free throws to put Tunisia up 15-12 with 2:39 remaining in the first quarter, but the Americans countered with a 14-0 run that stretched into the second quarter. A Westbrook bucket capped the surge for a 26-15 lead.
Tunisia continue to show spirit, closing to within 35-30, but the talent disparity between the two clubs became evident when the Americans opened the second half on a 10-0 run to go up 56-33 on a Love free throw.
Boston Celtics News: Opening Day Of The Season Starts With A Bang As Celtics Face Off Against The Miami Heat
After the Celtics open their season with a must-watch matchup with the Miami Heat and old friend Ray Allen, it could take some time for the season to get truly interesting.
The Celtics visit Miami at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 30, where they will grit their teeth and watch the Heat's championship banner be raised to the rafters of American Airlines Arena. After that, the month of November includes one game against the rival Philadelphia 76ers, home and away dates with the new-look Brooklyn Nets and one home game each against the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder.
Those inter-conference contests might draw some extra TV viewers, but neither game will mean much in the season's big picture.
The season's first 17 games seem relatively easy for the Celtics. They feature three games against the Milwaukee Bucks, two games against the Washington Wizards, plus road games against the rebuilding Detroit Pistons, the drama-weary Orlando Magic and the Chicago Bulls, who lost Derrick Rose to a torn left ACL and dismantled their strong bench in the offseason. In addition, nine of the first 16 games are at home for the Celtics.