Gold Redeemed

Photo: ESPN

After 8 years if embarrassment, the United States’ Mens’ Olympic Basketball Team is back on top. While most of the country slept this morning, Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, and company squeaked out a 118-107 win over Spain to capturethe gold medal. Dwayne Wade scored 27 points and Kobe added 20 in a hard-fought, offensive game in which the US led by only 2 points with a couple minutes remaining. The US beat Spain by 37 points earlier in the Olympics and most people expected a similar result in the gold medal game. Spain had different ideas however. They came out ready to play and never let up. As a team, the Spaniards shot 51.4% from the field and 47.1% from 3-point range. They out-rebounded the US 37-31 and had only one fewer assist then the Gold Medal Winners. Pau Gasol had 21 points for Spain while Rudy Fernandez had 22 points. In what was supposed to be a celebration game for the US, Spain nearly pulled the upset of the Olympics.

As I look back on this gold medal run for the US team I have to wonder, why was this final game so close? Except for a preliminary game against Australia, the Americans destroyed every other team they met except for last morning’s game. They beat this Spanish team by 37 points earlier in the games and Spain was missing Jose Calderon this time. There is one glaring difference between the gold medal game and every other game the US played. The US took the final game for granted. Theystopped their throttling defense and yes, Spain shot the lights out, but they also had more wide open jumpers than any team that has played the US so far. It shouldn’t have been close, but it was. Kobe saved the team from another embarrassing upset by scoring 13 key points in the 4th quarter, including a four-point play in the final minutes of the game. Continue reading “Gold Redeemed”

USA Olympic Basketball

The United State’s Olympic Basketball team was announced today for the 2008 Olympics in China. The one glaring weakness of the team is the lack of size as the only true power forwards/centers on the team are Chris Bosh, Dwight Howard, and Carlos Boozer. Those three big men are joined by Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Deron Williams, Chris Paul, Jason Kidd, Michael Redd, Dwayne Wade, and Tayshaun Prince. Many other teams in the world such as Greece, Spain, and Russia all boast big men with excellent skill. If Bosh, Howard, and Boozer get into foul trouble and are unable to play many minutes, then other teams will use their size advantage to pull down rebounds and dominate the offensive glass. Anthony is supposed to start at power forward and play major minutes there, but I don’t expect him to be able to grab rebounds and fight for position in the paint like true power forwards. With FIBA International Rules giving players only five fouls before they foul out (unlike six in the NBA) and counting a technical foul as a personal foul, the US may have major problems with foul trouble. Continue reading “USA Olympic Basketball”

Daily Sports Roundup 12/27/07

Not a big sports day today, but there are a couple of stories that deserve discussing.

Knicks, Marbury Saga Continues:The New York Knicks and Stephon Marbury continue to live without each other as Marbury grieves over the death of his father. The Knicks have given Marbury as much time as he needs, but he is having trouble in the situation. This comes after Marbury left a game against Phoenix before the game started, because he was taken out of the starting lineup. The Knicks have fined Marbury $200,000 and the two continue to argue over whether he has to pay it. In practice today, Knicks’ coach Isiah Thomas was asked whether Marbury would return to the Knicks this year. His response: “I don’t know”. The organization needs to move past this distraction and try to regain some respect from the rest of the league. If Marbury is really having a tough time dealing with the loss of his father, he should take as much time as he needs and join a team where he can make a positive impact.

All Star Voting Updates in NBA, NHL:Fan voting for the All Star was released today for both the NHL and NBA. These are only updates as their is still time left to vote for your favorite players, but it seems that fans are doing a good job selecting the starters. In the NBA, the current starters for the East would be Kevin Garnett, Lebron James, Dwight Howard, Dwayne Wade, and Jason Kidd while the West would counter with Yao Ming, Tim Duncan, Tracy McGrady, Kobe Bryant, and Carmelo Anthony. I agree with nearly everyone one of those choices except for one, Tracy McGrady. How can Chris Paul, who is averaging 22 points and 10 assists per game not make it over T-mac? McGrady averages 23 points and 5 rebounds per game. I know that Nash is dishing out 13 assists per game, but for the Hornets to be at 18-10 right now is a testament to how much Paul means to the team.  Paul deserves the spot. Continue reading “Daily Sports Roundup 12/27/07”