Friday, August 15, 2008

For Team USA, it was Payback Time against Greece...

...and did Team USA pay them back good with a 92-69 whupping, utilizing something that's less glamorous than their awesome dunks and spectacular drives: a nice, tight defense that had Greece committing 25 turnovers and going 26-for-36 from the field, with just 4-for-18 from beyond the arc!

And it looks like coach Mike Krzyzewski really took the team's loss to the same Greek squad at the 2006 FIBA World Championship to heart because he was able to dismantle Greece's clinically effective pick-and-roll play with a stellar defense that complemented Team USA more-than-stellar offense. And surprisingly enough, even their outside shots have started to find the basket (7-for-20), particularly Kobe Bryant's who, before sinking a couple of 3-pointers in the game, was only 1-for-17 from the rainbow - a rainbow that's actually shorter than the NBA's! But in this game, by hustling for the ball and by displaying their own brand of aggressive defense, the Redeem Team showed that the adage, "defense is the best offense" still holds true. If you ask me, the Greeks the Redeem Team played last night wasn't the one that showed up and beat Nowitzki and company.

Still, in a game that ESPN called the "night of redemption" and that had Team USA executing moves that're "meant only for video games," this HAS TO BE the game's highlight of all highlights - Dwyane Wade's steal (1-of-6) and save to alley-oop to Kobe!

*Sadly, the highlight reel to that amazing play was taken down by YouTube so let's just make do with a still photo of the dunk that capped it all*

Again, D-Wade was Team USA's offensive sparkplug, adding 17 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists and the aforementioned 6 steals in just 20 minutes, with LeBron James also having a productive night scoring 13 points, grabbing 6 rebounds, dishing out 6 assists and blocking 3 shots. Rounding out the team's top points producers were Chris Bosh and Kobe with 18 points apiece.

With the win against Greece, Team USA, now up at 3-0, secured a spot in the medal round. And if they win their next game against reigning world champion Spain who're also up 3-0, they can also clinch the Group B division's 1st-place. And no question about it, if the Redeem Team played the game against Greece seriously, they're going to have to double their effort against Spain. For one thing, Spain's bench has a lot more depth - and are a whole lot bigger physically - than Greece's. Team USA will have their hands full in trying to contain the Gasol brothers who're excellent low-post scorers, plus they have to deal with Spain's sweet-shooting guards like Jose Calderon and the highly-touted "La Pistola Pedro" Ricky Rubio who, they say, is both a gifted shooter AND a tenacious defender.

With Team USA in the medal round, we're just 5 more games away to finding out if they really are "The Redeem Team."

"Show me the goooooooold!"

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