Team USA Basketball kicked off group play today versus China, and as expected, won handily, 119 to 62.
The team is pretty much structured to get off to a big lead before throwing in some defensive subs, so Harrison Barnes didn’t get a chance to play until late in the first half.
As someone who is not a real student of basketball technique, I liked what I saw. Granted the competition is not what we are used to, but Barnes stayed pesky on every single possession and got in guys’ faces constantly. His first points of the game came on a fun two-handed slam on a cross-court pass from Kyle Lowry a couple minutes after entering the game.
After the half, Barnes was again on the bench until a few minutes into the fourth quarter. He didn’t do much for a while, but heated up a bit towards the last few minutes of the game. A really fun play involved Barnes cutting to the rim with former teammate Draymond Green feeding him for a really awesome dunk, his second bucket of the game. He also grabbed an offensive board for a third bucket late in the game, but missed a wide open three at the very end.
Barnes finished with 8 points and four boards in 12 and a half minutes. He is basically the last guy off the bench for Team USA, so we probably shouldn’t expect to see him more than what we did in this game - basically a few minutes here and there, or "garbage time" (Lol at garbage time being a thing with this roster.)
I don’t know much about Barnes’ game other than that he’s better on defense than the guy he’s replacing this season, but the energy I saw today makes me excited to see what he can do for the Mavs and how he can improve working with Rick Carlisle this year.
Team USA plays again on Monday.
Bogut shines for Australia’s Boomers
Speaking of players I’m excited to see play for the Mavs, Andrew Bogut played 22 minutes and had 18 points, four rebounds and five assists as he and the Spurs’ Patty Mills (21 points) led Australia’s Boomers to a win over France earlier in the day.
I didn’t actually watch the game, but I hear it was high energy and Bogut clearly played well by the box score, so they could be a fun team worth your time for future games. The team also features a few other players you’ve heard of in the Bucks’ Matthew Dellavedova and the Pistons’ Aron Baynes.
Team Australia also plays again on Monday. For those interested, Argentina (featuring the Mavs’ Nicolas Brussino) is in Group B and will play its first game tomorrow.