Please allow me to play the role of the ugly American and express my unbridled frustration with what happened last night and Team USA almost losing to Australia.
Here’s your chance to totally call me out on my reactionary nature but WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT?!?!?!?! For about forty-four of those forty-eight minutes, I was as nervous as a high school couple awaiting the results of their pregnancy test.
Let’s just say that Team USA almost took a huge proverbial dump on their luxury, Olympic cruise liner Wednesday as Team Australia gave the lackluster Americans all they could handle and then some.
I was out running errands and remembered the game was on at 6pm. When I came home to find the American team not only down and being outplayed, I thought to myself “I rushed home for this?” I love watching history but this was not the kind of history I wanted any part of. Grading this performance a c-minus is being complimentary.
This was the whole reason Jerry Colangelo, Mike Krzyzewski and company assembled the top, professional American players in the first place: to prove that our brand of basketball is far superior to the rest of the globe.
Enter Team Australia who has five NBA players of their own. The way they played Wednesday night, those guys are due for a contract extension.
The Aussies were far from intimidated by an American team that had just beaten China by 57 and Venezuela by 44. Team Australia shot 68% in the first half and was up by five at intermission. If it weren’t for their turnover count, this game could have been out of hand.
Angry Tweets flew from my keyboard like t-shirts launched from a cannon at a game everyone wished they could un-watch.
Watching Durant miss shot after ill-advised shot has to make Golden State reconsider whether signing him was the best option.
Team USA played such bad defense they had Tom Thibodeau questioning his self-worth.
If I have to watch one more NBA player, unfamiliar with international rules of contact, complain about a foul call he didn’t get, my head may explode.
This team wants to chase 1992 Dream Team history. After Wednesday’s outing, the only history they’re chasing is that of the losing 1988 team that prompted it.
It took an Olympian performance from veteran Carmelo Anthony to save this team from being on the wrong side of that history. A loss wouldn’t have eliminated Team USA from gold medal contention but it certainly would have left a lot of egg on their faces: bad, stinky, Australian, undercooked eggs and a vegemite sandwich to boot.
Team USA was such a heavy favorite to win the Gold my service didn’t even offer a betting line. The only wager you could place on Men’s Olympic Basketball was on who would take the silver. You might want to place your money on Australia if it’s not already too late.
Upon building a team, how many of Australia’s players, i.e., Patty Mills, Andrew Bogut, Matthew Dellavedova, would you have drafted before taking any one on Team USA? None, right? You may want to reconsider that too.
There is nothing more frustrating to me than a team that tries to shoot itself out of a slump, even if that team is far away the best in the competition. What this team sorely lacks is a player who can consistently score with his back to the basket. I’m still struggling to figure out why post-presence is such a lost art. While so far solid defensively (until tonight), DeAndre Jordan is not that person. And if you’re placing all your eggs (the ones that aren’t yet on their faces) in DeMarcus Cousins’ basket, well, let’s just say I’m not as convinced as I was before this game tipped that Team USA will cruise to gold. There may be some more nervous moments before this is all said and done especially if they play the way they played tonight.
Maybe I’m overreacting. Everyone has a bad night. Even the original Dream Team lost that legendary yet un-filmed scrimmage before flying off to Barcelona. Perhaps it’s unrealistic to expect this 2016 team to beat every one they play by 44, which is the barometer the original Dream Team set. After all, it was that original pro team’s influence that spread basketball fever around the globe and made current teams like Australia so damn difficult to beat.
This was Team USA’s wake-up call. There are no more second chances and certainly no more Dream Team comparisons. Play like that one more time and it will be a long, stinky cruise ride home.
Wow… we missed a good one, huh? Strong post SC. Hope USA does better tonite ( today?)- will set the DVR for sure.
Coach K can’t coach big men, hence….no good centers on his teams, Olympic or the blue shade
Same story here.
That, and they don’t play D. When they do make an effort it’s lights out for the opponent
Melo and Kyrie saved them last night
Good warmup for the swimming, though
PEP…my brotha’…so emotional!!! There are a couple of things here for me to note. First, Just because we believe we’re the best, doesn’t mean everyone else does. Nor does it mean others are just going to let us roll over them. As you so aptly pointed out, there are 5 NBA players on their roster. What do they have to be intimidated by? What do they have to lose. If anything, our players should really take stalk of what it should look like playing for country! Next, I can only imagine the mindset of a team that has steamrolled over everyone to date. Pair that with the media hype of how good you are with all the comparisons to previous teams, and I can see how there could be some mental lapse. Next, I would invite conversation and perspective on the coaches. Who puts college coaches with professional players? Nothing against Mike and his crew, but I have to think with the NBA egos that run around all season, taking instruction and coaching from a college coach..well, I’m just saying it’s something to consider.
I do agree that this is a wake up call, and one that will be responded to in an appropriate manner…that is to go into WDA mode, (whoop dat ass), stay focused and have fun.
I know now that it was closer than any of us feel comfortable with, I’ll be watching…and paying more attention, just like they should be doing!
This is why they play the games…Because YOU NEVER KNOW.
On any given night, for whatever reason, favorites sometimes play down to the level of their competition. And for whatever reason, on those nights the underdogs sense it and try to pounce.
But it shouldn’t happen on this large of a stage.
Coach K should be all in these guys ears today and hopefully they get the message and make it not only a matter of personal pride, but national.
On another note…How much is Golden State gonna miss Bogut’s toughness in the paint? That motherfucker has no qualms going Laimbeer on whoever. Those type of balls aren’t easily replaced.
I don’t know that I’d necessarily call that game “good” unless I was of course, Australian.
Alaa Abdelnaby? Cherokee Parks? William, you might be on to something. Leave it to the Tar Heel in the crowd to notice such things.
I can’t agree with you more on the defense or lack thereof. I loved (hated) how the camera kept panning to Thiboeau who was about ready to sneak out of the gym for his team’s poor performance. That’s the only reason that guy’s there.
Guard. The perimeter. Don’t let the guy go past you (Ole!) and wait for DeAndre Jordan to try to swat it out of the air as the last line of defense. Did you see how Australia guarded us? If they weren’t in your shorts on the perimeter, there was a sure forearm under your neck by the basket.
I do feel sorry for the next team US has to play (Serbia, Fri. 6pm) although as we know, the Serbs are no slouches.
I wonder if they’re going to pan to Vlade in the audience as much as they did Luc Longley last night.
Let me ask yo uthis with regards to Coach K.
Popovich notwithstanding, which NBA head coach is worth a damn to coach this team in international play?
Which coach would you pinpoint as THE guy that would guarantee US a championship?
That’s a short list, my brother.
I’ve been preaching that for months as you well know, Bleed.
In fact, I’d go so far as to say Bogut’s absence is the reason Golden State lost last year’s Finals!
Look, we all know Australians are tough motherfuckers. But Team USA needs to man up and either run through them or jump over them because they will meet again.
So it looks like the time spent in a brothel of downtown Rio on the night of the Opening Ceremony by three USA Team players, wasn’t money well-spent ? There were @ss wipes of USA Basketball , suggesting the players involved in this little misnomer mistakenly took the whorehouse for a day-spa. Word to the wise ( DeMar DeRozan , DeAndre Jordan and DeMarcus Cousins) players, there’s more than one way to get your balls polished and shined . Luckily enough , you just avoided having your balls being deflated by the Aussies.
Close call for Team USA and the constant over-hyping of the caliber of this roster sent to Rio. Like I said , without the most prominent players , there was always going to be a danger of this group being found out . Yet as usual , you had the apathy of the NBA fans with the usual crassness rising to the level of stupidity with their brouhaha about the greatness of this team.
I have to admit, I did picture you on your couch clinching your ass so tight you were ripping dime-size holes in your upholstery.
It’ll be interesting to see how they come out tonight against Serbia, Al. They’re favored by 24 points.
They would have matched the ones that are already there.
This is a team which is overrated and nothing more than hype has been the main reason why everyone is buying into this dominance.
Team USA Women’s Basketball has been demolishing teams with effortless ease in group play, but they’re getting absolutely almost no media coverage at all.
Yea, Al, I’m not sure why they’re having problems with Serbia. Back in the day, I could understand it but this is a Serbian team with not a single NBA player.