10:22 am Aug. 7, 2012
It has been a successful Olympics so far for U.S.A. basketball. For the New York Knicks involved, it's also been a trying one.
In Monday night's 126-97 victory over Argentina, Tyson Chandler played just 12 minutes. The defensive-specialist center could have come in handy against an Argentina team who ran up 59 points in a closely contested first half. But he spent most of the game on the bench, after logging eight minutes against Lithuania. He's been battling a dislocated finger injury he sustained last week when his hand inadvertently hit the rim.
Meanwhile, Carmelo Anthony spoke recently about the USA team carrying "a target on our back."
He should have been so lucky.
Anthony was whacked in the groin by Argentina point guard Facundo Campazzo late in the third quarter, going down in a heap. That was the notable moment of Anthony's game, scoring just five points and dealing with foul trouble all night.
“He got hit. He wasn’t on the floor celebrating,’’ USA coach Mike Krzyzewski said after the game.
Even the perpetrator of the dirty hit, Campazzo, was only in the game because Argentina's starting point guard, Pablo Prigioni, missed the game recovering from kidney stones. Prigioni, of course, will be part of the Knicks' three-headed point guard tandem, along with Jason Kidd and Raymond Felton, replacing Jeremy Lin.
The upcoming week offers redemption for everybody. Despite losing to the U.S., Argentina has advanced to the knockout round. The game itself had little impact on their ultimate placement, which is, in part, why Prigioni was rested in the first place.
Argentina will face Brazil on Wednesday morning; the U.S. will follow that game with a quarterfinal matchup with Australia. The two teams, should they both win, would face off again in the semifinals, where a win guarantees both a medal and a chance to play for a gold.
Elsewhere in New York sports:
Ivan Nova was hit hard again in a 7-2 loss to the Tigers, but it probably didn't matter; Justin Verlander struck out 14.
Jose Reyes returns to Citi Field. When he left following a three-game sweep of the Marlins by the Mets on April 26, his season line was .205/.263/.329. In 90 games since, it is a robust .304/.369/.452. And his hitting streak of 24 games is both ongoing and the longest in the major leagues this season.
Tim Byrdak has a serious shoulder injury, and surgery should take him out of action for a year.
Terrell Thomas hopes he can rehab his knee, and return in a month.