U.S. finishes unbeaten in pool, will play Australia

Updated: August 24, 2006, 6:54 PM ET
Associated Press

SAPPORO, Japan -- Dwyane Wade rose from his seat to acknowledge the crowd chanting for him in the closing minutes of the United States' victory.

Chris Sheridan's Take
If Chris Bosh knew several months ago what he knows now -- that he'd be buried along with Brad Miller on the end of the bench -- would he still have been willing to join Team USA?

"That's a good question. I'm not sure," Bosh told Insider on Thursday night after the U.S. wrapped up preliminary-round play with a 103-58 rout of Senegal. "I can't say that I would, but I don't think anyone would have told me that."

• For more of Chris Sheridan's analysis, click here. Insider

That was the only work Wade put in all night.

Wade had the night off, and the rest of the Americans essentially got a breather, too, in a 103-58 victory over Senegal on Thursday night at the world championships.

Even if his team didn't miss him, the fans did, and began chanting for the NBA finals MVP with less than 4 minutes to play. Wade eventually stood and waved, drawing a roar.

"That was a first for me," Wade said. "It was a great experience, though. We play our heart out here to entertain. We gained some fans on this trip."

Chris Bosh scored 20 points and LeBron James added 17 in limited duty for the U.S. team, which remained unbeaten.

The Group D champions depart Friday morning for Saitama, where they will face Australia, the fourth-place team from Group C, on Sunday in the round of 16.

That will surely be more difficult than this one, where the U.S. led by as many as 45 against the overmatched African runner-up.

"It's the medal round," Wade said. "Everyone is good. We've got to come in and prepare for them like we've been doing every other game and take it from there."

James scored 15 points in 13 minutes of the first half, then sat along with Carmelo Anthony for the first seven minutes of the third quarter and returned for only a few minutes. Anthony finished with 12 points and played only 14 minutes, one night after setting an American record with 35.

Elhadji N'doye scored 25 points for Senegal (0-5), the last-place team in Group D.

"We've got players, so we just need to reorganize," Senegal's Makhtar N'diaye said. "Our team's going to do that, and our future is pretty bright."

The Americans were coming off their toughest test of the tournament, needing huge second halves from Anthony and Wade to help them rally from a 12-point deficit to beat Italy 94-85 on Wednesday.

But Wade, who appeared to land on his hand after a hard foul during that victory, wasn't needed this time. He showed up on the court a little more than 15 minutes before the tip and stretched, but otherwise just watched his teammates.

Anthony started the game alongside him on the bench. With nothing at stake, U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski sent out a lineup that included Brad Miller -- who had played in only two of the first four games -- along with usual reserves Joe Johnson, Kirk Hinrich and Antawn Jamison.

The Americans got off to a bit of a slow start and trailed by one midway through the first quarter. A 19-0 run gave them a 31-13 lead early in the second, and after that Krzyzewski was able to mix and match while making sure his stars didn't play too much in his team's fifth game in six nights.

The extra rest will come in handy starting Sunday.

"There are no grand illusions that this is going to be an easy road," Shane Battier said.

Every U.S. player except for Elton Brand, who played only 3 minutes in the first half, had scored by the break. Anthony's 3-pointer with under 4 seconds to go gave the Americans a 58-24 lead at the break.

"It was great for other guys to get minutes that haven't played a lot and play well," Brand said.

Chris Bosh
AP Photo/Mark J. TerrillChris Bosh took advantage of rare minutes, scoring 20 for the U.S.

Bosh, seeing limited time in Krzyzewski's 10-man rotation for most of pool play, scored 15 points in the second half. He made a pair of free throws to give the Americans a 101-58 lead with 2:04 remaining, and Jamison followed with a bucket 30 seconds later to give the Americans their largest lead.

"Chris has been a guy, who when he has played, has done a good job for us on the offensive glass," Wade said. "But it's 12 guys on the team, so I think Coach, like he told everybody coming in, he doesn't know who he's going to play any given night so everyone has to continue to be ready."

Johnson had 11 points for the U.S., which shot 51 percent. Bosh grabbed 10 rebounds, leading the Americans' 53-32 advantage on the boards.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press