Redeem Team Keeps having Nightmares. Spain Outplays USA, but Falls Short of Gold

The Spanish outplayed the US for the first quarter, and with an array of players that are all paid millions, the US was trailing by 5 early, their biggest deficit of the Olympics. This was an injured Spanish team, and they were still beating the so-called Redeem Team.

Chris Paul, for the US, fortunately was strong driving to the basket, drawing fouls and sinking the basket, for 3-point plays.

Wade entered the game and exerted some obvious hustle, and the announcer noted “the team seems to play their best ball when he is on the court.” So maybe the US could show why they get paid millions to sink hoops.

Why can’t they just bring the championship NBA Team the Celtics to clean up this Spanish motley crew? If they could humiliate the Lakers, certainly they could make mincemeat out of a few Spaniards.

But the overly tattooed US Team looked kind of silly overall against a team that should have been a relatively easy target. At the end of the first quarter, Wade made a steal, but looked like a spaz going to the basket, throwing the ball away.

The US led after the first quarter, but not by much, and these are the best the US can offer?

Lucky for the US, as the game entered the second period, the Spanish team was missing free throws. Kobe sank a three to put the US up by ten. He is not getting enough credit in these games for his leadership. He sinks it when he has to and he is doing it from everywhere on the court. If he played like this against the Celtics, they would still have lost, just by not as much.

Dwight Howard of the US made a stupid foul. He let Gasol get by him and instead of just letting the shot go, he grabbed Gasol like a rag doll, and received an “Un-sportsman-like foul”. What excuse does a pro team up by 10 have for acting out like this?

Gasol missed both shots. Howard got lucky. And the Spanish, had they practiced their free throws, may have been in this game more.

Kobe traveled getting two on a fast break, but the ref missed it and he got the basket giving another break to the US.

Spain started getting sloppy, and the referees seemed to start getting much lighter on the foul calls, letting the US team take advantage of their aggressive play, leading to a 13 point lead. But Spain sunk a three to bring it from within 10.

An easy strip of the US by Rubio and a weak foul by the US led to Rubio sinking two free throws and reducing the US lead to 8.

On the ensuing play, Anthony got stuffed and Spain stole the ball. The US had to resort to a foul to keep Spain from getting within 6 easily. The US team looked like they were dancing with the Spanish players, grabbing them in ways the referees should never have allowed.

Kobe, our hero of this Olympics, took a weak shot by Spain and a fast break pass to sink an easy basket. Kobe was smooth.

But with the squeak of the sneakers, Spain snuck in another basket to keep it within 8.

Offensive foul US on a sadly missed layup led to the Spain throwing in 2 free throws to come within 6.

Now the weirdest play of the game. A quadruple steal. Spain steals from the US, who steals from Spain, who steals it back form the US and Wade finally steals it again from Spain. James went to the basket and sunk it and drew the foul. Spain blew a chance to come within 4. James missed, but Wade stole the ball again and sunk it for a 10 point US lead and Spain called for mercy with a time out.

At the half, it was within 9 for Spain, and the overpaid “redeem team” was looking vulnerable.

Spain immediately pulled within 6 and this was looking like a real play-off game. Something the US certainly did not expect after blowing out this same Spanish team by 40 points earlier in the Olympics.

The US looked like they had little heart. Maybe it was because there was no bonus paycheck in this game, but they threw it to Spain. The US countered with a steal, just to have Spain nab it back on their end of the court. Spain went for a three and missed.

The rest of the game was pretty much the same. The US did not give up their lead, but they didn’t expand it either. US Gets Gold by 11, 118-107.

The “Redeem Team” gets the Gold, but we are thinking after this kind of play, the teams they play for may want to renegotiate their contracts to save a few mill.

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 Olympics Basketball Team Embarrasses Spain In Quest for Redeem Team Gold

Spain was supposed to be the strongest competition the US would face in these Olympics. Sometimes, though, things just aren’t as they appear.

In 2006, the Spanish team were world champions. They didn’t look like world champions in this game.

The game was riddled with turnovers by Spain, giving the US team way too many opportunities to score. And the US team also did something they had not been able to do in previous games in these Olympics. They hit 3s. They were 12 for 25 from downtown.

The final score was an embarrassment for Spain, losing to the Americans 119-82, a 37 point spread. LeBron James scored 18 points, Dwyane Wade had 16 and Carmelo Anthony sunk 16 points as well.

The only remaining undefeated team is Lithuania, but the US will not have to face them until the final game for the Gold.

The US team did indeed look like the Redeem Team in this game. Certainly, if they continue to play like this, a Gold medal is in their future.



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