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Monday Notes: USA bests Russia, up next: Australia

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Americas champs defeat European champs in China.

  • Team USA downed defending Euro champs Russia 89-68 (recap / photos) early Sunday morning. Facing its toughest pre-Olympic opponent yet, Team USA won comfortably but not quite as thoroughly as in previous games. Kobe Bryant led all scorers with 19 and Michael Redd added six points on 2-3 from outside in just 11 minutes. LeBron James delivered his least superhuman effort, with more turnovers (4) than assists (2) and fouling out (remember, it only takes five) in 24 minutes. Up next for Team USA is Australia, airing live on ESPN2 at 7:00 a.m. central time on Tuesday.
  • Draft Express ranks the Olympic basketball field 1-12. Team USA stands on top, but is not without its imperfections.

    Potential weaknesses might arise because of the lack of size this team possesses, with Dwight Howard as the sole true center presence in the middle. Defensive rebounding might eventually become an issue, especially with so many guys giving up the defensive glass to run the break. Besides, gifted low-post teams could potentially cause some damage near the basket, which should be addressed with defensive team activity. Although this team seems more committed on the defensive end, we’re yet to check the quality of their defensive rotations and defensive transitions on the big stage.

  • Upside and Motor provides a well-done Team USA Blogger Roundtable with familiar names like Henry Abbott, Matt Moore, and Ryan McNeil adding their thoughts.

  • Charles Gardner confirms reports that Andrew Bogut sat out most of the second half of Australia's narrow loss to Argentina on Saturday.

  • The Bob Boozer Jinx speculates about Bogut's chances of playing against teammate Redd and Team USA, and talks Olympics.

  •'s Chris Sheridan theorizes about Jason Kidd's second-half benching against Russia, believing the starting point guard's lack of minutes is worth reading into. Chris Paul and Deron Williams are superior players by virtually every measure. It hardly should be surprising that Coach K is picking up on this, though it sort of is. BrewHoopsters were ahead of the game on this one. A couple months before these games started we ran a poll asking who should be cut from the team among Kidd, Paul, Williams, and Billups. The answer was to keep the kids, and cut Kidd.

  • Dime, meanwhile, isn't reading much into Kidd's benching, and previews Team USA versus Australia.
  • Chad Ford at rates the Bucks among free agent winners. So, we're 1-0?