This was the United States’ first big test, and the passed it easily (although certainly still with some room for improvement). It truly did appear as though Coach K spent all his free time (and a good deal of his official time for Team USA) developing a way to beat Greece, as he came up with basically the perfect defense and his cadre of athletic players (there is more athleticism on Team USA’s bench than on most other teams) to execute the dominant defense, which was just amazing to see, as Team USA smothered Greece in this statement game.
Chris Bosh’s strong play continues – for whatever reason, he has really stood out more in international play than in NBA play (not that he is not an excellent NBA player, but he just strikes me as a stronger player in international play – remember how Carmelo looked in 2006 as opposed to how he looks in the NBA? Some guys just fit better with international rules).
The room for improvement comes from the typical areas – Teams USA missed 10 out of 23 free throws and Team USA shot 7 for 20 from three-point land, but notably, Kobe Bryant actually made two of the five threes he attempted, which is certainly a step in the right direction for Kobe, who answered the bell from the outside when Greece went to a zone defense.
Speaking of zone defense, it was impressive how Coach K had the US switch up their defense throughout the game, pressing then going to zone, etc. A beautifully coached game.
I’d say Bosh was the game’s standout player, but I was delighted to see how committed Lebron was to play defense. Three blocks for King James!!! Wow!!
Let us hope that the US’s excess preparation for Greece does not leave them vulnerable to Spain on Saturday.