James’ Hot Shotting Lifts U.S. Team Over Uruguay
King James rises to the challenge of propelling the U.S. Team past Uruguay.
LAS VEGAS, August 30, 2007 (AP) -- LeBron James couldn't miss, not from 3-point range and certainly not while soaring for a series of powerful dunks.
And that was all before halftime.
James was 11-for-11 from the field, making all four of his 3-point attempts, and scored 26 points in the first half Wednesday night to lead the United States to a 118-79 victory over Uruguay in the FIBA Americas tournament.
In a sensational display of speed and power, James raised his tournament-leading shooting percentage to an almost comical 79.7 percent (47-of-59). He is 14-of-20 from 3-point range, a 70 percent mark that also leads the event.
Despite playing only 14 minutes, he fell two points shy of the American record in an Olympic qualifying game shared by Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson.
The Americans will face fellow unbeaten Argentina on Thursday in the final game of the second round. A victory would send the United States into Saturday's semifinals as the No. 1 seed.
That will be the sixth straight night with a game for the Americans, but the easy victory Wednesday allowed them to get some rest. U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski rested his starters for the entire second half, but the Americans still had no problem meeting the 117.5 average they entered the game at.
Anthony missed the whole game with a bruised right heel, an injury that wasn't considered serious. He complained of pain Wednesday morning, though it wasn't known if he was hurt during Tuesday's victory over Puerto Rico. Michael Redd started in his place and scored nine points.
Esteban Batista, who played 70 games for the Atlanta Hawks over the last two seasons, scored 20 points for Uruguay.
Uruguay played even with the United States for the first 5 minutes and trailed by only 12 after a basket by Batista with 7˝ minutes remaining in the first half. The U.S. starters returned less than a minute later, beginning James' highlight reel.
He threw down a dunk about 15 seconds after returning, then added consecutive layups after passes from Jason Kidd 17 seconds apart to push the lead to 43-25 with 5:44 remaining in the half.
When James nailed a 3-pointer with 2:39 left to improve to 10-of-10, 4-of-4 behind the arc, all that seemed missing was a shoulder shrug like Michael Jordan made after hitting all six of his 3-point attempts in the first half of Game 1 of the 1992 NBA finals against Portland.
James capped his half with one more dunk, going high above the rim and viciously throwing the ball down, stopping to look at the crowd for a second after he landed. The Americans led 66-38 at halftime after shooting 63 percent (25-of-40) in the first half.
Amare Stoudemire finished with 19 points and Deron Williams had 14 for the United States. Kobe Bryant and Tayshaun Prince added 13 apiece.