James warns Spain that US improving daily
BARCELONA, Spain- LeBron James warned rivals Spain on Monday that the U.S. Olympic basketball team was getting better every day on the road to London.
The Olympic champions play Beijing silver medallists Spain on Tuesday at Barcelona's Palau Sant Jordi in the last friendly before the Games in what could be a preview of another Olympic gold medal final.
While the U.S. team were made to hold off a scrappy Argentina team for an 86-80 victory on Sunday, NBA Finals MVP James of the Miami Heat said the Americans were on the rise.
"We're better. We got better the last few days," James said about the process of becoming a well-coordinated team.
"Just being together on the floor, just playing the game. You improve each and every day, and we've done that."
James, who had 15 points, seven rebounds and five assists against Argentina, said Spain posed an interesting challenge not just because of their size up front but due to their shared experience on the court.
"They work well together. They've been together for a long time," said James, who will be expected to pitch in with some strong rebounding against the towering Spanish frontline featuring brothers Pau and Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka.
"When a shot goes up you got to try and keep them off the glass because they're so big."
High-scoring Kevin Durant, who poured in 27 points in Sunday's game said Spain had to worry more about the Americans.
"It is about us. We can't focus on what Spain is going to do. We know they are a tough team, we really respect them. They are a championship kind of a team but it is about us and what we are going to do when we come out."
The lone true center on the U.S. team, Tyson Chandler of the New York Knicks, said he was not worried about the size issue.
"I feel like we'll be fine," Chandler told Reuters at Monday's practice. "The same way we have to make adjustments to their size they have to make adjustments to our speed and athleticism."
Chandler said the U.S. team was still getting accustomed to the nuances of international play.
"The last game was the first game that caught us off guard," he said, pointing specifically to four traveling calls that went against the Americans.
"Internationally you have to establish your pivot foot before you take off," he explained. "We got to get used to that."
Chandler said the sagging zone defenses and allowances for more physical play underneath made it tougher for players to drive to the hoop, one of the U.S. team's strengths.
"You can get away with a lot more underneath, a lot more grabbing, pulling, leaning on picks. All that kind of stuff," he said. "It's something we have to get used to."