Sunday, July 29, 2012

Off to a Promising Start

The U.S. coasted to a lopsided victory over France today. Unselfishness, offensive rebounding, and forcing turnovers carried the day for the Americans.

In the first quarter, Tony Parker kept France in the game. The referees were whistle-happy early, a trend that continued throughout the game. That disrupted the U.S.'s flow and allowed for a close opening stanza. The U.S. led only 23-22 after one.

But France's lack of depth, or more accurately, the Americans' incredible depth, contributed to an impressive second quarter for the U.S. The U.S. took a substantial lead immediately upon Parker hitting the pine and held a 52-36 lead at halftime. Parker's teammates did not play up to par. Boris Diaw, Nicolas Batum, and Mickael Gelabale all had poor games. France started Ronny Turiaf at center, which was a mistake. Turiaf got a few easy baskets early because the Americans' post defense was suspect throughout. But Kevin Seraphin and Ali Traore gave France a better interior scoring presence.

Kevin Durant (22 points, 2 blocks, 2 steals) and LeBron James (8 assists) were largely responsible for the U.S.'s superb play. Durant had 9 rebounds, but overall, the U.S. gave up too many second chance opportunities. Russell Westbrook made two bad plays. In the first, he fouled Batum, who jacking up a 40 foot shot at the end of the shot clock. In the second half, he left his feet and passed to Nando de Colo. And France's ability to get easy buckets was disconcerting.

Otherwise, the U.S. was nearly flawless. The U.S. resisted jacking up too many perimeter shots and kept up the defensive pressure. The number of uncontested alley oops speak the this team's ability to get easy shots through ball movement. America won 98-71.

After the game, the entire roster and coaching staff lined up to give First Lady Michelle Obama a hug. It was touching as it showed the importance of basketball as part of American culture and how it can be an avenue to achieve the so-called American dream.

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