Very little heckling at the cleverly named Olympic Basketball Gymnasium. The monotony of the cheers is maddening. What happened to the Greeks with their bass drums and the Lithuanians with their swaying Slavic melodies? I miss them.
For a hyped game with a packed crowd, two U.S. Presidents and an electric first quarter, things are about as drab as you can imagine. Carmelo Anthony looks like he'd rather be in Utica. Coaoch K and friends are sitting quietly on the bench. There are moments of near-silence at times when you can easily hear the players' voices.
The half-time stats pretty much told a typical U.S. story in international competition. The Americans shot 83 percent inside the three-point arc, an incredible 20 for 24. But they shot 8 percent from three-point land--the staple of international basketball--making 1 of 12.
The Chinese? Twenty-eight percent from two, 50 percent from three.
It doesn't matter, though, as long as Dwyane Wade and Kobe Bryant can steal the ball at will, leading to easy transition baskets, which makes the crowd just as happy anyhow. While we wait for one more quarter, much love to the Beijing Dream Dancers for a halftime routine featuring dragons. Don't see that too much in the NBA, sadly.