I'd be yelling too if my team got beat this bad...
Photo credit: Kristian Dowling/Getty Images
So much for better competition.
This time, it wasn't just the defense, but the superior three point shooting that brought USA Basketball another blow out Olympic victory, this time over Spain, 119-82. The lifeless Spaniards committed 28 turnovers; Pau Gasol led the way with five. USA had a 26 to 7 edge in points from turnovers and an incredible 32-0 edge in fast break points, but the game was truly decided in the first half when Spain's zone failed to stifle the USA'ers who, for the first time in this Olympic competition, were able to shoot the three effectively. USA shot 48 percent from downtown, going 12 of 25. Spain, by comparison, went 6 for 28.
Although the game would have gone in Team Disruption's favor solely via their defensive effort, the fact the Redeemers showed superior ball movement and shooting in the half court has to be distressing to their international opponents. Other than praying for an off night in the knockout rounds, if this squad can shoot like this, there's not many weaknesses left to exploit.
Overall, the Spanish guards had little impact, but a majority of turnovers came from Spain's front court. The USA defenders simply waited for Gasol and his boys to put the ball on the floor, brought help from the weakside, stripped the ball, and created numerous transition opportunities. They also defended Spain's pick and roll attempts with ease. Even Jason Kidd had a layup! Credit NBC commentator Doug Collins with the observation that the help coming from the weakside was creating havoc with Spain's offense.
While Lebron James is clearly the core of this team, D-Wade has been the alpha stud, coming off the bench with defensive intensity and scoring acumen. Wade shot 67 percent overall from the floor, going 8 of 12. Carmelo Anthony had his best game to date, shooting 75 percent on 6 of 8 shooting, 4 of them coming from the three point arc. About the only bad thing you can say about this team was the early foul trouble they got into. Even that in the end made absolutely no difference.
Spain clearly left emotionally by mid third quarter to fight another day (or to smoke); if everything goes well for them, they could meet USA in the gold medal finals. ESPN's Chris Sheridan, who seems to want USA to lose, frets about the Redeem Team peaking too soon. Given the one and done nature of the medal rounds, anything could happen, but if a statement was made today, it was the Redeemers who made it.
I was hoping for a better game today, but it could well be that this club is just that good.