Rugged tuneup makes U.S. men sweat
For 40 minutes Sunday, the U.S. men’s national team and Argentina exchanged as many elbows as made baskets and Kevin Durant played dual roles as resident sharpshooter and bodyguard of point guards.
This exhibition game in Barcelona, Spain, friendly only in the technical sense, sometimes looked more like a rugby scrum. At one point, Durant stepped between his teammate, point guard Chris Paul, and Argentina’s burly, bearded forward, Luis Scola. Words were exchanged, perhaps in two languages, along with some light shoves.
When it ended with an 86-80 victory by the U.S., all sides labeled the skirmish minor, far from an international incident. With its first Olympic basketball game less than a week away, coach Mike Krzyzewski called the rough, close contest “our first real international game” and a “great game for us.”
Durant summarized the evening thusly: “I won’t let anybody get in the point guard’s face.”
This, the fourth of five exhibition games for the U.S. in advance of the London Games, had been billed as the Americans’ most difficult test yet.
The U.S. team arrived in special uniforms as well, retro duds designed with a nod to the Dream Team, which won a gold medal here in 1992. Current U.S. players and coaches took a few hundred questions about their predecessors before they practiced Sunday. They seemed overwhelmed by the topic, if not mildly annoyed.
ABDUCTED LIBYAN FREED
The president of Libya’s Olympic Committee said hours after he returned home Sunday that his kidnapping remains a mystery but that authorities promised to investigate the case.
Committee chief Ahmed Nabil al-Taher al-Alam was released unharmed a week after unknown gunmen abducted him from his car in Tripoli, the capital.
The abduction comes during a wave of score-settling among rival groups left over from Libya’s eight-month civil war that ended with the capture and killing of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi in October.
IN MEMORY OF MUNICH
Complaining that the Olympic movement is still ignoring their pain, Israelis marked the 40th anniversary of the Munich massacre with a modest service in the atrium of a London apartment block.
Prayers were read for the 11 murdered Israelis and wreaths were laid for them about four miles from the Olympic Stadium.
However, their request for a minute’s silence at Friday’s opening ceremony has been denied.
KLUFT CAN’T COMPETE
Former Olympic champion long jumper Carolina Kluft of Sweden says she won’t be able to compete in London because of a hamstring injury.