The second day of the World Basketball Festival in Washington, D.C. brought us face to face with Team USA at the Armory, a military base that, after the basketball renovations, felt like a Broadway show. Our man Sean Sweeney checked out a team practice early yesterday morning. John Thompson, the Georgetown legend, was there. So were Olympic alums Lenny Wilkens and Pat Ewing, who didn’t appear to be sweating. The team was introduced, with Carmelo Anthony coming out last for the DMV love. With Jay Bilas – the trillest – MC-ing the practice, the players went through some fast-break drills, some three-man weaves and some pick-n-roll drills. No one was really going hard; Kevin Durant even took a long yawn at one point. Kobe missed his first eight jump shots in a row, and the only thing that changed were the “Kobe!” chants coming from the crowd only grew louder (he’s STILL the most popular player). Then, the intrasquad scrimmage started, Bryant banged his first triple and we were off. The intensity was up. The defense was there. Everyone was into it. Maybe it felt different because we were a yard from the court, but the team was into it enough to lobby for one extra “overtime” session. The two teams were quite obviously “the starters” and “the subs”. The top six were Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler, and the bench six were Deron Williams, Andre Iguodala, Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis and James Harden. At one point, Coach K rolled with a lineup of CP3, Kobe, James, KD and ‘Melo, and they promptly proceeded to banished the rest of the guys to their rooms with a number of easy buckets. Williams was the only one keeping it close early; he banged two quick triples. That lineup might not work against the brothers from Spain, but if you’re an international team, you’re not trying to deal with that. That’s the type of lineup giving coaches ulcers … We also hit up a Converse block party where they debuted the Pro Leather, which is being re-launched this summer (and it’s DOPE), and then we got up on stage with Stalley and The-Dream. We’re just happy they didn’t toss us the mic … The day’s nightcap were the two semifinals of the City Tournament of Champions. New York took out Chicago in overtime and then Washington, D.C. was handling L.A. before the West Coast fellas came back and rolled in the second half. The biggest surprise of the games? Marcus Williams showed up to play for L.A. Yes, THAT Marcus Williams, of UConn and laptop fame. He seemed like he was half asleep for most of the action too … Photos will be on the way soon of all the festivities … We’re out like Knicks/Nets beef.
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