Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Argentina, like Lithuania, played the United States intelligently and tenaciously in the first half. The US led by only one point going into the intermission.

If you look at the score today you will see that the United States won by nearly thirty points.  The final is misleading.  Except for the third period when Kevin Durant and LeBron James played brilliantly, the game was close.

I'll write what I did after the Lithuania game. Some of our opponents seem to be better coached.  Offensively, Argentina was cutting and picking like a continuous motion machine.  Some of their shooters are every bit as good as American sharpshooters so if they are sprung free because of strategic picks and screens they can score easily.

On offense the US played and plays a lot of one on one basketball. Fortunately for those cheering for America the individual talent of the US players is greater than the individual talent of the opponents, with the exception perhaps of Manu Ginobli who is as good as anyone on the court.

The US players were selected mostly because of their offensive prowess. So far offense in spurts has been sufficient to defeat opponents who have moved better and played more intelligently. Doug Collins made a comment in yesterday's game that I think is right on.  What will win the gold for America is not the offense, but defensive intensity.  If the Americans play defense aggressively it will make up for cold spurts and will force opponents to work their schemes harder to get open shots.

I have watched basketball Olympics since 1960 when Jerry West and Oscar Robertson destroyed all opponents.  Fifty plus years later it is clear that Olympic basketball has become very competitive.  It is no guarantee that the US will win the Gold medal in these games.  And in future Olympics I think that basketball gold for the men will be even more meaningfully contested.  America will no longer be able to cherry pick twelve NBA players and assume that the skill level will exceed those from other countries or that skill levels themselves will be enough to defeat well drilled opponents.

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