Shanghai, China Russia contained the speedsters. Controlled the backboards. Everything a team needs to do to beat the United States.
Except stop Kobe Bryant.
Bryant provided the offense in the U.S. Olympic team's first defensive struggle, scoring 11 of his 19 points in the third quarter of an 89-68 victory on Sunday.
"They had some gaps there, and I just took advantage of them. The ball found me, and I was able to make them pay," Bryant said. "In that kind of situation where the game is kind of seesawing back and forth, we have so many weapons. It could be LeBron, it could be D-Wade, one of us is going to kick into high gear."
Former Kansas University player Sasha Kaun played seven scoreless minutes for Russia.