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