Sunday, August 13, 2006

USA 111, Lithuania 88

Take that Lithuania!!


This was the first game I actually watched start to finish, and I came away with the same opinion I've had all along. If LeBron, 'Melo and Wade are into it, this team won't lose.

The US jumped out to a quick 29-11 advantage after a quarter thanks to the combination of tenacious, swarming, full court defense and the offense of Wade and Anthony. LeBron James hadn't played at this point and that frightened me.

Coach K clearly has the US believing that if they can force turnovers then they're unstoppable, and he's 100% correct. Lithuania never looked composed on the offensive end with hands and bodies constantly flying at them.

Offensively, Wade, James and Anthony are so quick that it's nearly impossible to stop penetration. Coach K used Anthony, Wade, Battier, Bosh and Hinrich on the floor for most of the 1st and 3rd quarters, and the combo delivered. What's great about this roster is that when Wade gets by the initial defender, all he should have to do is kick it out to whoever is wide open for three. Tonight, Anthony was the beneficiary of most passes, finishing with a team high 19 points. Hinrich also showed an ability to hit open looks and had a fine little ballgame.

If you're looking for negatives from this "friendly", I've found two. The first is the team's rebounding. Other than Elton Brand and Dwight Howard, no one on the roster seems interested in bothering. Lithuania had several put backs on missed shots, and should the United States find themselves in a closer game, this could be a problem.

The other negative is minor, but Gilbert Arenas needs to curtail his desire to catch and fire whenever he sees the ball. This team is unbeatable if they penetrate and kick or they move the ball with multiple passes, so Arenas taking 25-foot 3-pointers at the start of a possession will most likely end up getting him cut.

Bring on Korea!


Anonymous said...

Maybe Arenas has been taking lessons from Kobe

Anonymous said...

First of all, great blog! Nice to find some intelligent hoops talk. You're right on with your assesment of Team USA. Except that I don't think that rebounding will be an issue if these guys are playing. They just need to teach Howard to go and get it off the rim. And don't forget Brad Miller. All right, he can't rebound. But he is the prototypical European center. While that's not necessarily a compliment, it can work to Team USA's advantage. Miller can't jump, isn't athletic, and can't really run well. But he can pop out and shoot very well. This opens lanes and clears space for the big 3. Very effective. Now just have some of your athletes go get it off the rim, and have the rest break out and run. Should equate to easy wins, especially when you have the 2 best players in the NBA with LeBron and Wade.

Anonymous said...

You don't have to worry about Arenas any more. Out for the tournament - strained groin. Can you hurt that by jacking up 30 ft. jumpers? I just hope that the team doesn't miss his 3.8 ppg! Here's a question for you - how many shots does it take to score 4 points a game?

Anonymous said...

Actually, not that many. 18 shots in 4 games. But that doesn't include FTM either. Not as many shots launched as I thought, but I don't really like his game, either. Doesn't really fit with this new team concept.