With buckets so easy to come by for the uber-athletic Team USA, Bryant had to do little of what he does best (you know … scoring), instead focusing on moving the ball with some extra passes and locking down on the defensive end.
Likely to the pleasure of Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak and coach Mike Brown, Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski kept his oldest Olympian’s minutes down, saving Kobe’s legs for the games that count.
During the 18 minutes he was on the floor, Bryant took only three shots towards his five points (3 of 4 free throws) plus three assists and five boards with two steals. His personal highlight came on a pretty turnaround J in the first quarter after a ball fake sent a doubling defender the wrong way.
Bryant found Brooklyn’s Deron Williams for two of his five triples, and it was D-Will that blew the game wide open with a 14-point scoring barrage in the first four minutes of the third quarter, putting Team USA up by 30.
The Americans shot 60 percent from the field, dunking here, there and everywhere (the Beatles are from Liverpool, not Manchester, but who’s counting), and forced 26 Great Britain turnovers with great ball pressure on defense.
Up next for Kobe and Co. is a Sunday contest against Argentina, a matchup expected to be more closely contested than what we saw on Thursday.