Dwight Howard's ready. He went for 16 and 10 in Team USA's big 121-90 win over China early this morning.
Dwyane Wade led the way with 26 points on 9 of 13 shooting. Brad Miller played nine minutes this time around, but didn't even take a shot, let alone score. He did pull down four rebounds - two of them on the offensive end.
Yao played 27 minutes (of 40 possible) for China, and racked up a pretty impressive 21 and 10. He only shot the ball eight times, though - you'd think he'd touch the ball every single time down, and you'd think the US doesn't have anyone on this squad to guard him. (I haven't watched the TiVo'd game yet, so I'm not really sure what happened there.)
Why isn't Brad playing more? I assume a couple things: he's now the low man on the totem pole, with Bruce Bowen and Gilbert Arenas gone. The other players are a bit too vital to leave on the bench in favor of Miller - Joe Johnson for his shooting and defense, Antawn Jamison for his scoring ability, Shane Battier for his defense and hustle, Kirk Hinrich for his playmaking, and everyone else for very obvious reasons. Miller provides a lot, too - terrific ballhandling/passing and shooting. But it's not enough to overcome the very good players in front of him.
Another thing? Miller is a defensive liability against dominant centers. Daniel Santiago of Puerto Rico really took it to the US in that exhibition game, and Yao Ming is Yao f'n Ming. I might expect Miller to get some more burn against teams with less spectacular big men. (Wait, did I just call Daniel Santiago 'spectacular'? Check my temperature.)
In other Worlds action, Spain absolutely destroyed Panama 101-57. Pau Gasol went for 26 and 10. He's on a mission. A mission from God. (By the way, Spain also beat New Zealand yesterday, so they're 2-0.)
Serbia is having a disastrous tournament as France dropped them to 0-2 behind Boris Diaw's 20 points and eight rebounds and despite Darko Milicic's 14 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 blocks. (Dude's a blocking machine - in the L, in international ball. Machine.) So Group A remains interesting as Argentina (big winners over Lebanon) sit atop at 2-0 while Nigeria, the Lebanese, Venezuela, and France all follow at 1-1. (Wouldn't it be strange to see Lebanon and France clawing for the fourth and final advance spot given the current political situation? Sports make life so interesting.)
Puerto Rico bounced back to beat Senegal, who slips down with China at the bottom of Group D. Italy joined the US at the top, after narrowly beating Slovenia this morning. (And Italy is one of the few good teams in the Worlds without a single NBA player on the roster.) The US meets Italy on Wednesday.
And don't look now: Angola is 2-0 after wins over Panama and Japan. Charles Barkley is smiling somewhere.