Sunday, August 26, 2007
Their Reign On the Top Was Short Like Leprechauns
Now I'm convinced.
Before the FIBA Tournament of Americas started,I wrote about how I was concerned about some issues regarding Team USA's infrastructure and their chances at winning the TOA. Namely a certain Blue Devil ringleader.
I also gave my reasons why the Blood, White, and Crip would walk over the comp in Vegas. Mainly Kobe Bryant. But after watching the US completely shit on Brazil tonight, I'm officially turning in the last piece of my Team USA hater card.
Kobe, Kidd, and co. routed the Brazilians by 37, and it wasn't even that close. Yeah, Brazil hung with U.S. somewhat in the first half (the Americans only led by six after the first quarter and our winning margin of 19 at halftime was the lowest of the tournament), Team USA broke it open in the second quarter and never looked back. Some notes from this latest poor example of an international competition:
- Kobe and Lebron might get most of the media attention, but probably the most dangerous American baller has been Carmelo Anthony. He's been the U.S.'s leading scorer and is third in points per in the qualifying tournament. Melo's finally cut down on his "black hole" offensive game and stopped holding the ball for 10 seconds before deciding what to do with it. He's rebounded well and shot well from all over the court. Carmelo also has been showing off his underrated (under-used) passing skills. He put up 21 points tonight on a different array of shots (mid-range, three-point, finishing alley-oops).
- Bill Walton said something about Steve Nash being the best basketball player in the NBA. Funny. I smell another "Who You Got?" coming between Nash and J-Kidd. I don't care how many MVPs Steve has won, he can't fuck with Kobe, Bron, Duncan, or Kidd for that matter. I love his game, but the league's best player should know something about defense. I'm just saying.
- I don't know if you've heard this before, but Kobe Bryant is the best player in the world, hands down. He had 20 points on only 6-9 shooting and had a couple periods in the game where he completely stood out over everybody. His fundamental game is nice; his athleticism is still unreal even after turning 30; when he has talent around him, his court vision increases immediately; and his one-on-one offensive moves and defense is above everyone else's. On one play, Lebron tried unsuccessfully to drive past Da Silva from Brazil. He just couldn't get past him. A few plays later, Mamba absolutely used the same dude for an easy deuce. As great as Lebron is, the individual game between him and Kobe is nowhere close right now.
- I'm starting to be glad the U.S. lost all those games the last few years. The team (especially with Kobe and Kidd) just looks super-hungry right now. In terms of hunger alone, this team is favorably comparable to the '92 Dream Team. They're getting at dudes all over the court. (Once again, especially Kobe. He's harassing guards left and right. Leandro Barbosa will be having nightmares about Mamba all night. He was taken out of the game from the start and only finished with four points. When Kidd couldn't get out on the break early on, the Americans just overpowered the smaller Brazilians in the post, with dudes like the 6'9 Lebron showing a dominating mismatch inside. Then you had dudes like Chauncey Billups coming down and draining 3's in transition just because. That's the U.S. I know and love. Killers.
- It's a shame how much Deron Williams is getting Summer 2006-Chris Bosh-ed in the Tournament of Americas. He's the third-string point guard on the team and really only gets minutes in the Darko moments. I don't want to beat dead horses here, but, Kevin Durant would be a lot better with those minutes. And I know Coach K and Bryan Colangelo were counting on Chris Paul's foot being healed in time for the qualifying tournament. He looked sloppy against Brazil's second and third team. Deron just looks like he doesn't know his role or spot on the squad (kinda like Arenas last summer). I know his spot, and it's nowhere near the court. (I kid, I kid.)
I hope Argentina and Puerto Rico and all the other former welcome mats had fun during our down years, because Team USA is back. I'm talking '95-'96 Bulls back. '05 Mariah Carey back. Get down or lay down.
Or we'll have to sick the Black Mamba on you. And you don't want that shit.