US Basketball All-Star Closer to Redemption. Advances into Olympic Gold Final After Defeating Defending Champs Argentina!

By Evan Roessle, Guest Writer

Was this to be a repeat of the 2004 Olympics in Athens? Team USA began that Gold medal game vs. an Argentinean team led by Manu Ginobilli. The US team’s inability to knock down three point field goals was evident as they lost 98-90, but what was more disturbing was the seeming lack of heart and the inability of the US to perform as a team.

Ginobilli scored 29 points, dominating the game with his effective three point shooting. Fabricio Oberto, Andres Nocioni, and Carlos Del Fino rounded out the field for Argentina, beating Team USA. The defeated US team was led by led by Tim Duncan, Allen Iverson, and Kobe Bryant who were never able to become comfortable with one another.

This year, the team has been constructed differently, requiring players to commit three off seasons to Team USA. This has allowed Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Carmelo Anthony to gel, and become comfortable playing as a cohesive team.

As the game began, Team USA ran up a huge early lead, going up 21-4 in the first quarter. Argentina was playing their game from there and began to chip away, cutting the lead to nine by half time, but Manu Ginobilli, Argentina’s most important player had been lost to an ankle injury. Typically this would indicate a blow out by Team USA in the second half.

Luis Scola and Carlos Del Fino of Argentina took up the slack. Scola dominated down low, using his slick back-to-the-basket moves to score 28 points while Del Fino continued his hot shooting from outside, scoring 17 pts.

On the US side, Carmelo Anthony was the catalyst, scoring 21 points and converting all 13 of his free throw attempts. Chris Bosh and Dwight Howard combined for 20 rebounds, solidifying the low post defensively.

Howard also had two blocks contributing to strong defense throughout the game. After winning easily once again, 101 to 81, Team USA will face Spain in the Gold medal game. This will be a rematch of the group level game where Team USA disposed of Spain like a used Kleenex, embarrassing them by nearly 40 points.

If the United States can win they will return to the Gold Medal status they demonstrated in the Sidney games in 2000. People forget, the US only had one bad game in 2004 despite not playing up to their capabilities, and still made the Gold round. This year, the team is vastly improved and looks unbeatable.

Spain is likely to have learned from their earlier whooping. Expect them to come out playing tenacious defense and sinking 3s. If they can get by their desire to be Chinese, they could work the US Team and play them tight, but if they run around pulling the skin around their eyes into an oriental shape, they may find it difficult to hold onto the ball.

US Greeces the Wheels, Unstoppable after Wiping the Floor With Greece and Slipping Right On By!

By Evan Roessle, Guest Writer

Having lost to this same Greek team four years ago in Athens, the US team was determined to redeem itself and come away victorious.

As the United States basketball team prepared for their third game in the summer Olympics, you could sense the tension.  Would the US dominance in the games come to an abrupt end as it did in 2004, or would the improved level of competition put a road-block in the US team’s pursuit of a Gold medal?

In 2004, the US lost to Greece in the Bronze medal competition, and the fear was they would they just choke under the pressure, and their desire to return home to their cushy multi-million dollar contracts.

As the game began, the teams volleyed for dominance, each team in turn rotating between establishing its offensive and defensive strategies.  The volleying made it difficult to establish if either team had the advantage.

Jason Kidd started for the United States at point guard, and picked up three fouls in the first two minutes, creating a dire situation, leaving coach K to possibly have to resort to his reserves.  Chris Paul and Deron Williams were ready though, and both have more talent than most of the US competitition, so it wasn’t all that difficult of a problem.

Greece took an early lead, and with the US trailing 13-9 in the first quarter, Dwayne Wade entered the game. From there, Wade led the US team increasing both the intensity on offense and defense, reversing the trend and taking the US lead to 17 at half time.

In the first half, Wade, and Chris Bosh had the largest impacts providing tough D! Several steals for Wade and a couple of blocks for Bosh helped the US establish a lead Greece would be staring at for the rest of the game.

In the second half, the United States controlled the tempo, maintaining their twenty-point lead.  Aggressive defense and assistance from a Greek team that was not prepared to come from behind led to a final score of 92-69.

The United States proved that it is not the same team it was four years ago, and the Greeks were an easy target.  The team that lost to Greece in 2004 can now anticipate and prepare for their next competitor, Spain.   Experts believe Spain will be their toughest competition, having a mixture of NBA and European players.  The Spanish team has talent, and may be able to hang around with the United States team, but our bet is on a US GOLD rush and Spanish SILVER!!

Photo Credits: Nicolas Asfouri / Filippo Monteforte / Jeff Gross / Getty Images / NBC