Monday, August 11, 2008

Team USA Basketball brings down China's Great Wall!

By employing a pressing defense while at the same time doing what they do best - and that means utilizing an arsenal of crowd-pleasing slam dunks, behind-the-back passes and no-look assists, The Redeem Team outplayed host team China to a convincing 101-70 win.

China, led by Houston Rockets' 7-foot-6 center, Yao Ming (as if anyone doesn't know which team he plays for in the NBA), and backed by New Jersey Nets' latest acquisition, 7-footer Yi Jianlian (who, frankly, played NOT like an Olympian and NOT like an NBA player, going 0-for-6 in the first half) could hardly contain Team USA's high flyers, with The Redeem Team taking a 13-point lead by half-time.

The Nets traded Richard Jefferson for him (and Bobby Simmons)?!

With Team USA missing wide-open three-point shots while China's own three's dropped into the baskets (with Yao Ming even opening the game with his own three!), the Redeem Team had no other choice but to go back to their tried-and-tested formula of driving to the hoop and slamming the ball straight through, which, unfortunately, the lumbering, depth-lacking Chinese team couldn't contain. Never has a visiting team been cheered on by the home crowd so loudly and vividly everytime co-captains LeBron James or Kobe Bryant rammed the ball into the basket with authority.

At the end of the ball game, Dwyane Wade was Team USA's top scorer with 19 points while going 7-for-7 from the field, with LeBron adding 18 to the Redeem Team's points tally. China, as expected, had Yao as their leading scorer with 13.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves here. As previously mentioned, China's bench, although tall and reasonably talented, lacked depth; a problem that Greece, Spain and Germany - Team USA's opponents later on in their Group B division - don't have. So expect the games against them to be more hardly fought compared to the one against China. And let's not forget the fact that the said teams, whose line-ups have big men who're able scorers from the field, have some very talented shooters in the likes of Pau Gasol, Jose Calderon and Dirk Nowitzki, to name just a few.

So again, what Team USA needs to drill into their heads is that the kind of game they played against China might be real crowd pleasers, but it won't turn into wins all the time unless they learn to play some solid, fundamental basketball to really be the Redeem Team the media has hyped them up to be. Because,
although lacking in height, considering the kind of talent Team USA has, bringing home the gold is really the only way they can redeem themselves. And no excuses, like how the opposing team played better or how they wanted it more than the Redeem Team, would suffice.

"I'm Carmelo Anthony so you guys better let me through!"

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