ATHENS, Greece (AP) - United States coach Larry Brown is determined to leave the tactics and lineup of his team unchanged for its third game of the
Olympics. "I'm not smart enough to change," Brown said with a smile Wednesday. "I don't have enough time.
"We're 7-for-45 on 3s and are taking more 3s than our opponents, and all these teams live by the 3. So I think we've got to change that and take
better care of the ball. In terms of changing the tactics, no, we just got to play with the same energy we played with last night and improve in those
That appears to mean that Richard Jefferson, who shot 0-for-7 against Greece and 3-for-16 against Puerto Rico, will remain the starting small forward.
And LeBron James, whose defensive energy produced three breakaway dunks in the second quarter, will continue to come off the bench at shooting guard
behind Allen Iverson when the Americans play Australia on Thursday afternoon at the Helleniko Sports Complex. Brown has never been one to make
wholesale changes on the fly, and he's not about to start now - even with observers wondering why he isn't making use of more full-court pressure or
half-court traps in an effort to cause turnovers that lead to transition scoring opportunities.
"Whatever he feels is the best thing to do to win, that's what we're going to do," said Stephon Marbury, who has played full-court man-to-man defense
against opposing point guards, but hasn't been all that disruptive in that role.
Brown believes winning or losing will be determined by effort - players diving on the floor for loose balls, boxing out underneath for defensive
rebounds and making the extra pass against the zone defense to open up mid-range scoring opportunities. The Americans have done those things at times,
but never for a full game. And if they don't get into the habit of playing with extra effort for a full 40 minutes, their chances of standing on the
medal podium dwindle.
"A lot of guys gave up their bodies to make plays last night. We played to win," Brown said following a brief practice at the American College of
Greece. "When you see LeBron going on the floor and Timmy (Duncan) going on the floor, and that's why we ended up playing better.
"A lot of guys played under difficult circumstances, and the end result is they all made contributions - (Amare) Stoudemire with Timmy in foul trouble
gave us some real good minutes, and Lamar (Odom) won the game down the stretch with some unbelievable defensive plays. That's what it's all about and
that's what it takes."
Against Australia, the Americans will need to concentrate on stopping point guard Shane Heal, a veteran of both the NBA and the Euroleague known for
his sharpshooting from 3-point range. Like the U.S. team, the Australian team has shown itself to be wildly inconsistent. When they play well, they
play very well. But when they play poorly, they practically look lost. Australia, the United States, Puerto Rico and Greece all have 1-1 records in
Group A, which Lithuania leads with a 2-0 record. Angola (0-2) is last in the six-team group from which four teams will advance to the quarterfinals.
Thursday's other games are Serbia and Montenegro-New Zealand, Italy-Spain, Puerto Rico-Angola, Argentina-China and Greece-Lithuania. One of
Lithuania's assistant coaches is American Donnie Nelson, the general manager of the Dallas Mavericks and a longtime participant in international