Friday, July 20, 2012

The Fog Rolled over Great Britiain

I can relate to Great Britain. I watched them play the U.S. team in a prescription drug haze after a trip to the dentist. For Great Britain's part, they hung in early. Luol Deng looked a cut above his teammates, scoring 25 points. Only Pops Mensa-Bonsu contributed to the British cause early. Both Deng and Mensa-Bonsu got to the line.

But most of the game saw Britain overwhelmed by the U.S.'s pressure defense and dizzying array of dunks. Coach Mike Krzyzewski smartly started Durant and Deron Williams instead of Carmelo and Chris Paul. The U.S. had been getting off to slow starts, even trailing Brazil by ten points last game. It will likely take the U.S. some time to blow out most of its opponents in their Olympic contests, because depth is one of the U.S.'s major strengths.

But the starting line up change helped Williams (19 points) who started, and Anthony (19 points, 10 in the first), who didn't. Westbrook's incredible turnover-inducing defensive energy was at it again. It led to America's best offense, the run-out dunk. Britain turned the ball over 27 times in a 40 minute game. Westbrook had 15 points and 9 assists. He helped break the game open in the first.

The USA was ahead by 13 after one, 18 at the half, and won 118-78. Britain's Andrew Sullivan got hot late, scoring 11 points in 6 minutes, but by that time, the outcome was no longer in doubt. This was America's best all around game because it tried to get the ball inside first and then let the outside shot flow. The defense was customarily strong as well.

On the Letterman Show on Wednesday, Mike Greenberg slammed Andre Iguodala's inclusion on this team in the context of comparisons between the 2012 and 1992 national teams. Greenberg's comments expose his ignorance. He claims that the '92 Dream Team had all stars and no role players. But international basketball has drastically improved. A blind collection of stars obviously hasn't worked for the U.S. throughout much of the 2000s. Iguodala is essential to this team because he's an all-defensive first teamer, good rebounder, and is unselfish. Perhaps Greenberg would prefer someone more like Stephan Marbury?

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