Monday, August 27, 2007

Team USA continues to roll

I'm packing and traveling for the next couple of weeks, so my posting schedule will probably be a bit sporadic and my posts will probably fall on the lighter side of things.

I had a chance to watch two of Team USA's games this weekend. Despite the blow-out victories, I think Team USA might be in for some real problems when the Olympics (and the better international teams) roll around. The game against Brazil was particularly worrisome, even though the game turned into a demolition derby. In the first quarter, Brazil was able to stay close simply because its guards didn't turn the ball over in the face of Team USA's defensive pressure. They had fairly good success in the half-court (at half-time, I think Brazil was shooting just about 50% from the field), and Team USA was getting fewer run-outs. Team USA's offense was still spectacular (I've been particularly impressed by Michael Redd--he can shoot!), and against these teams that is more than enough, but I'm worried that won't be the case against some of the European teams (or Argentina when they have their full complement). Carmelo Anthony's defense against other power forwards is a continuing issue. He's getting plaudits for his offensive play (and rightfully so), but these commentators seem to be missing the fact that his defense is costing Team USA. There was a sequence in last night's game against Brazil that really illustrated this point. Twice in a row, Team USA's defense had Brazil up against the shot-clock when Carmelo's man drove right at him, encountering only token resistance, to score. If Team USA is going to win the Olympics, Carmelo is going to need to make stops in those situations. I know he's only doing it in garbage time, but I'm glad Coach K is playing some line-ups with two big men together. I think when the real tournament comes around, that sort of line-up is going to be vital to Team USA's ultimate success.

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