LAS VEGAS - LeBron James couldn’t miss, not from 3-point range and certainly not while soaring for a series of powerful dunks. And that was all before halftime.
James was 11-for-11 from the field, making all four of his 3-point attempts, and scored 26 points in the first half Wednesday night to lead the United States to a 118-79 victory over Uruguay in the FIBA Americas tournament.
In a sensational display of speed and power, James raised his tournament-leading shooting percentage to an almost comical 79.7 percent (47-of-59). He is 14-of-20 from 3-point range, a 70 percent mark that also leads the event.
Despite playing only 14 minutes, he fell two points shy of the American record in an Olympic qualifying game shared by Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson.
The Americans will face fellow unbeaten Argentina today in the final game of the second round. A victory would send the United States into Saturday’s semifinals as the No. 1 seed.
That will be the sixth straight night with a game for the Americans, but the easy victory Wednesday allowed them to get some rest. U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski rested his starters for the entire second half, but the Americans still had no problem meeting the 117.5 average they entered the game at.
Anthony missed the whole game with a bruised right heel, an injury that wasn’t considered serious. He complained of pain Wednesday morning, though it wasn’t known if he was hurt during Tuesday’s victory over Puerto Rico. Michael Redd started in his place and scored nine points.
Uruguay played even with the United States for the first 5 minutes and trailed by 12 after a basket by Esteban Batista with 7½ minutes remaining in the first half. The U.S. starters returned less than a minute later, beginning James’ highlight reel.
Phoenix’s Amaré Stoudemire finished with 19 points and Deron Williams had 14 for the United States.
Kobe Bryant and Tayshaun Prince added 13 apiece.