The United States and Argentina emerged from the first round of the FIBA Americas 2008 Olympic qualifying unbeaten Sunday, but not without a fight.Â
While the United States posted another lopsided-looking victory with their 113-76 victory over Brazil, the South American squad that included Phoenix Suns speedster Leandro Barbosa offered the strongest challenge yet to the US roster of National Basketball Association stars.Â “Their goal was to drive to be basket and they did that in the beginning,” Team USA guard Chauncey Billups said. “We made adjustments after the first quarter and did a much better job.”
However, after Barbosa sat with three fouls the United States took control, closing the half with a 28-11 run that included a 35-footer from Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James at the halftime buzzer.Â “We had some adversity tonight,” United States coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “There was a lot going on in the first half, but the guys responded very well.”James and Carmelo Anthony each scored 21 points and Kobe Bryant added 20 as the United States.