Saturday, August 4, 2012

Coaching Lessons

The United States Olympic basketball team is coached by one of the greatest coaches of all time, Coach K.  His assistants are no slouches either.  Jim Boeheim who annually makes the Syracuse Orange contenders in the NCAA dance.  Mike D'Antonio who, despite his recent resignation from the Knicks, is a coach who made the Phoenix Suns winners and fun to watch for most of the preceding decade.

So, it was something to see today when Lithuania nearly beat a superior US team in "pool play."  As fond as I am of Coach K, Boeheim and D'Antonio, the Americans were outcoached.  Had it not been for LeBron James making superman shots at the end, our dream team would have succumbed to players who would not be able to start on any NBA team..

The Lithuanians played brilliantly. Packing the zone so tight that it was nearly impossible to drive, boxing out efficiently, running well, and probably most impressively, running an offense that often resulted in open looks which the players took advantage of.  The opponents shot over 50% for the game.  And I don't believe the US defense was bad as much as the Lithuanians played so cleverly.

The US did not come out asleep as they did against Tunisia.  Chris Paul was hustling as was Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, and the rest.  The big guy Tyson Chandler might have made some more foul shots and Love, an 82 per cent foul shooter, could not drop the ball in the ocean from the line.  However, the US came to play, but they were outplayed by a team that used its collective sechel better than the Americans. 

Very exciting basketball and fun to watch--if I had not been cheering for the home team.

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