The USA teams dominated in their final match-ups at the Olympics this past weekend. The Women's utter destruction of the competition was always something of a given considering their continued success throughout the tournament, but the Men's game was somewhat in doubt as the finals game against Serbia was a rematch of an earlier pool game where the US team only won 100-97, with a last second three-point attempt from the Serbian team almost forcing the game into overtime.
This time around, the outcome was never in question after the first quarter, at the end of which the US team was only winning by four points, as the shooting ability, size, and athleticism of the US team proved too much to handle for Serbia. The final score was 96-66, with Kevin Durant leading the way with 30 points on 5-11 shooting from three-point range. DeMarcus Cousins was also an interior force and ended up with 13 points and 15 rebounds. The Serbian bigs, Nikola Jokic and Miroslav Raduljica, who proved such a problem in the previous game, were unable to find a rhythm and the entire Serbian team suffered from poor shooting, turnovers, and general foul trouble.
Spain also managed to win the Bronze medal on Saturday, but there was contentious officiating throughout, which became even more controversial with a last second foul call on Patty Mills which essentially gave the game to Spain.
It is difficult to extract meaningful information during the Olympics about NBA players, regardless of if they are playing for the US or their home country. The changes in format are drastic and the chemistry among teams varies wildly, as some teams have been playing together for years and others, such as the US team, are stitched together in the process of playing the games themselves. While it is tempting to foist a narrative on certain aspects of the games, such as the future Warriors' potential team-building and ball-sharing issues, it is all really simply conjecture at this point.
However, what we can say, and celebrate, is that winning Gold matters to these players. Carmelo Anthony, who is often denigrated for choosing the relative security by re-signing with the New York Knicks, deeply cares about his Olympic success,
Here he is in his emotional post-game interview:
It is easy to forget how much these moments mean to the players. Although achieving Gold is always seen as something of a given, or at least is the baseline expectation for Team USA, finally reaching that goal again has proven to be a worthwhile task. Especially when we get to watch Team USA do stuff like this:
In the depths of August, most NBA focused websites struggle to come up with meaningful content. The league is essentially on a hiatus, outside of Team USA, and there is little to no news until training camps start up. One of the ways that NBA Reddit has dealt with this lack of content is with a "roast" of each team throughout the month. The Timberwolves roast was last night. Unsurprisingly, the lack of playoff success and draft choices were the main topics. Here are a few of the best comments:
MR_KRABS_IS_A_ROBOT: "The Sonics have been in the playoffs more recently than the Wolves."
Giannis1995: "Your team is so deep into rebuilding that the guy you were rebuilding from is back on your roster and contemplating retirement..."
harrisonsmitheyes: "My best moment as a Wolves fan was a Celtics championship."
ORANG_DRAGIC: "Karl Anthony Towns is a legend. One of the best young players ever. That combination of guard and big man skills is unbelievable. His defense is amazing. He's got the right head on his shoulders and seems to have a really high basketball IQ. He will win a championship, maybe even championships. I can't wait till his career ends and the Celtics retire his number"
HoodedNinj4: "The only thing worse for Minnesota than the David Kahn era (.285 win percentage) is Ricky Rubio from 10-16 feet (.274 career)."
Agaac1: "The Wolves are the only team to have their draft picks taken away by the NBA. Not even the Nets got it that bad."
cimeryd: "So, funny story, when the Timberwolves last made the playoffs, iPhone, Android and YouTube didn't exist yet. Shaq was on the Lakers. Andre Iguodala, Jameer Nelson and Dwight Howard weren't drafted yet. And if any of you reading this is less than 16 years old, you probably can't remember that far back."\