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.

Kangaroos Can’t Jump. US Olympic BasketBall Team Hops Over Australia.

The Australians played close for a while, but the Redeem Team would prove to just be too much for the Aussies.

Despite a run that brought the Aussies back to 25-24 by the end of the first quarter, and that run reminded us of an exhibition game in which the US had a tough time with Australia. Much of the media, especially ESPN, were quick to dump on Team USA after that exhibition Game despite a US team 9 point victory.  Not this time.  ESPN and company kept their mouths shut.

The US strategy throughout these Olympics is to keep up the speed and momentum with fast substitutions.  The opposing team barely gets used to playing one set of Americans just to turn around and face another.  Because every player is stellar, it just keeps everyone fresh and beats down any opposition.

We won’t bore you with detailed coverage of this game.  It was not close.  Another US blow-out 116-85.  And it could have been much worse for the Aussies.  A 31 point whooping was merciful.

There will now be a semi-final between Team USA and Argentina (the defending Olympic Gold Champions).  Argentina barely nipped the Greek team the US destroyed by two points 80-78.

This team has Gold written all over it.  They are playing incredible basketball and could easily contend in the NBA.  The biggest surprise is the coaching and team play.  The US is looking like a true team, not a group of disparate selfish players.  And the coaches are driving team play with frequent substitutions and clever offensive and defensive strategies.

Lithuania is still undefeated after wiping the floor with China.  That will likely be the team the US faces for the Gold.

Redeem Team Crushes Germany Just For Fun… and Fear

By Evan Roessle, Guest Writer

This was more or less a meaningless game for Team USA. Their position in the upcoming rounds is secure because of their undefeated record in group play.

In their last game, the Redeem Team dismantled Spain who many believed to be the best team in the tournament, but it was possible they could let up in this game against the Germans, given that it will make no difference when the medals get decided.

The German team is built primarily around two key players, Dirk Nowitzki, a seven foot forward who plays for the Dallas Mavericks, and Chris Kaman, another seven footer that plays for the Los Angeles Clippers. Relative to these tall men, the US team could be considered somewhat undersized.

Although the German giants seemed imposing, it didn’t take long to establish that their size would have little impact on the outcome of the game. Team USA toyed with the Germans, stealing the ball, and setting up numerous fasts breaks for easy points.

Dwight Howard dominated the middle, blocking shots and scoring easily down low. He was extremely efficient, converting an astounding 90% of his shots. At half time, the United States had opened up a fairly large lead and did not show any signs of slowing down.

They continued to build their lead in the second half, with good defense and lights-out shooting. The United States doubled the Germans point total, cutting the German giants down to size, en route to a crushing win, 106-57.

The Redeem Team demonstrated that they understand winning games always matters, even when the championship isn’t on the line. Destroying Germany will remind every team to come that Team USA isn’t going to let up. The scores run up against Spain and Germany are intimidating, and will be on the minds of Team USA’s opponents for the remainder of the Olympics.

The United States will play Australia for their first game in the second round. This is a rematch of an exhibition game the Redeem Team won by 11, but at the time, the Australians were missing their best player, center Andrew Bogut. Will Bogut’s return matter?

We doubt it. That was an exhibition game…this one will count. As we look toward the match up, we expect Team USA will win easily, and it appears there is not one team that can stop them on the way to Gold but themselves.