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LeBron, Wade and pals watch their US replacements
On Thursday night, they dropped by to see the players who can earn them the chance.
The U.S. national team scrimmaged at Radio City Music Hall, where they were followed by a Jay-Z performance. The Blue team won 49-47 in overtime _ it was sudden death to prepare the venue for the concert _ on Tyson Chandler’s dunk on a lob pass from Rajon Rondo.
“I can’t wait, I definitely want to be a part of that team,” said Paul, sidelined this summer as he recovers from knee surgery.
Lamar Odom had 13 for the White and Chauncey Billups added 11. Both teams shot poorly in the first half and had turnover problems, perhaps struggling to adjust to the unusual venue, with one side of the court open facing the audience seating.
“We played on a big stage tonight,” Odom said.
Anthony, Wade and Paul all were interviewed during the sloppy first half, which ended with the White up 19-18 after 12 minutes. Anthony, who also played in the 2004 Olympics but is sitting out this summer after getting married, was asked if he wants to return in 2012.
“Of course,” he said. “I’m locked in. I’m committed.”
The level of play picked up in the second half, with Curry getting hot from the corners in the final few minutes.
“He gives us a weapon that we’re going to need through this next month,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said, adding that the veteran players finding him open showed a “high level of unselfishness.”
The Americans were preceded on the court by bands, cheerleaders and dancers, making the opening event of the World Basketball Festival seem more like a pep rally than a basketball workout. Kevin Durant, the team’s best player, shot only 4 of 12 and missed all five 3-point attempts.
He likened the event to an NBA All-Star game, though said “at the same time, we tried to get things done.”
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