Smack / Aug 17, 2008 / 3:28 am

Team USA blows out Spain, Ben Gordon wants out of Chicago, and Carlos Boozer’s summer vacation

Carmelo AnthonyCarmelo Anthony (photo. Mannion)

For three straight possessions midway through the first quarter, LeBron went into Cleveland Cavaliers “Devin Brown is the next-best guy on the floor with me” mode and broke open what had been a tie game between Team USA and Spain. Helping Dwight Howard on a double-team, ‘Bron forced Pau Gasol into a turnover, went coast-to-coast with the steal, shook off a body bump like he was Adrian Peterson, and swooped in for a lefty dunk; the next time down LeBron (18 pts, 5 rebs, 8 asts, 4 stls) faced up and stuck a three in his man’s grill; then on the next trip he put his head down, drove into the lane and got himself to the line. The U.S. never relinquished the lead after that point, going into the locker room at halftime up 16 and pulling away for an eventual 119-82 demolition … There were some general assumptions we made about Team Spain that were proven wrong yesterday. First, we assumed they would protect the ball better than Greece. Then Pau led the turnover brigade with five, everyone who played for Spain had at least one turnover, and they ended the game having coughed the ball up 28 times. Second, we assumed Spain would knock down their shots. But the Michael Redd of their team, J.C. Navarro, went 0-for-5 from deep and the rest of the squad shot 6-for-28 beyond the arc. Third, we assumed Spain would play tough D. But the U.S. ended up having one of its best shooting games of the tournament, and at one point Doug Collins said, “They’ve just stopped playing defense.” Finally, we assumed Spain wouldn’t be intimidated by the U.S. While we wouldn’t necessarily say they played scared, in the second half their performance couldn’t be described as “gutsy.” Angola went harder than Spain after they fell into a large deficit … The last 20 minutes was basically a scrimmage. Dwight threw a block party, goaltending or not, ‘Melo hit a few threes (16 pts, 4 threes), D-Wade (16 pts) had a sick up-and-under dunk where he took off on the left side of the rim and flushed it on the right, and Jason Kidd even took a shot. We hope you TiVo’d J-Kidd’s third-quarter bucket, ’cause it might be the last time you see him shoot it until he’s wearing a Mavs uniform. We thought maybe Kidd had a bet going that he could go the whole tourney without shooting … Kobe was relatively quiet after getting into foul trouble early, finishing with 11 points and four turnovers. He did help lock down Rudy Fernandez, though, as the right-handed Manu clone had just eight points … Ricky Rubio played better defense on Chris Paul (14 pts, 8 asts, 5 rebs, 5 stls) than Jose Calderon did, even though he got his “Welcome to the NBA” moment when he was hassling CP full-court and got FLATTENED on a pick by Chris Bosh. Rubio (8 pts, 3 asts, 3 stls) was good, though. In the first half he hit Rudy Fernandez on a pretty one-hand lob that was something straight from a Steve Nash instructional video … Bosh (7 rebs, 2 blks) had some moments where he got worked on D by Pau Gasol (13 pts, 6 rebs), but he made one great play when Fernandez tried to hit Pau for a lob and Bosh just went up and swatted it out of mid-air … No doubt you’ve seen the new Nike Team USA commercial with the practice footage backed by the Marvin Gaye national anthem. Remember when Dwight Howard supposedly had a chest injury and missed the first U.S. practice? You don’t think he conveniently sat out so Nike could shoot their ad without having to worry about his three stripes getting in the way? … Some of the Spanish players had their first names on the back of their jerseys, like “Ricky” instead of “Rubio,” or “Marc” instead of “M. Gasol.” What if the NBA went XFL and just let players get whatever they wanted on their jerseys? We couldn’t wait to see what DeShawn Stevenson, Adam Morrison and Delonte West would come up with … Speaking of inappropriate, did you see Marc Gasol‘s free throw routine? While dribbling with his right hand, Marc is doing a Reggie Evans on himself with his left. If the NBA is cutting the cameras away whenever Sam Cassell does the “Big Balls” dance, how are they gonna handle Grizzlies’ broadcasts? … “How I Spent My Summer Vacaction,” by Carlos Boozer: In August, I went to China with my friends. We visited the Great Wall, and I pretended to be Ronny Turiaf when we went to the gym. … Doug Collins almost went the whole month without mentioning that his son played at Duke. Maybe next time … THANK YOU Mike Breen for saying what we’ve been saying all along with the Spain/China photo controversy: With all the players, team officials, photographers, photo assistants, etc. at the infamous photo shoot, there wasn’t ONE person who said, “You know, maybe this isn’t a good idea”? … Ben Gordon doesn’t want the Bulls’ money. BG says he’s not taking the $6.4 million qualifying offer, adding that “It’s safe to say I’ve played my last game in a Bulls uniform.” Unless Chicago does a sign-and-trade, the only team with any cap room is Memphis, but they can’t afford the $70-plus million he wants, nor would they give Gordon that kind of cash when they’ve already got O.J. Mayo at the two … Earlier on Saturday, Ginobili dropped 32 in Argentina’s win over Iran, in which 7-2 NBA prospect Hamed Ehadadi put up 21 points and 16 boards. Luis Scola added 20 points and seven boards … But the story of the day was Yao and Team China pulling off what’s being called the biggest win in national team history, beating Dirk and Team Germany. Yao had 25 points and 11 boards, while Yi Jianlian (9 pts, 11 rebs) played his best game so far, D’ing up Dirk effectively at times, albeit Dirk finished with 24 and 17 boards. Did you see Yao chilling in the stands afterwards watching the USA/Spain game and taking up about four seats? What do you think was on his iPod? He’s probably a huge Plies fan … We’re out like Boozer’s PT …

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  • darko

    USA is just nasty :O

  • BxBaller

    Well, well, well. Some test Spain turned out to be.

  • the_don_mega

    “For three straight possessions midway through the first quarter, LeBron went into Cleveland Cavaliers “Devin Brown is the next-best guy on the floor with me” mode and broke open what had been a tie game between Team USA and Spain. “… that says it all!!!

  • Damon

    best game team usa has played so far, and worst game by spain in the last 2 years. spain stopped to play their game by the third quarter, so the deficit is larger than the quality of the teams really is.

    BUT Team USA is unbeatable if they play like that everytime. great shooting, defense etc.
    now you can see what a difference the attitude makes. the arrogant team of 2006 wasn’t that much different in personal. this years team is just motivated as hell and takes the opponents seriously.

  • http://www.myspace.com/carli_borikua4life daquest?on

    man team usa played so great, it was amazing to see! again i hate teams that give up half way through, it dont matter if ur losing 100 to 1, give it ur best and dont empty ur bench, damn in two hours im gonna board a plane and move 4 ever

  • Damon

    yeah, why was spain giving up? maybe because they wanted to rest some players, it would’ve been closer otherwise.(maybe only 20?lol)
    but they don’t stand a chance against such a team.
    i always add that, because criticzing team usa is a murder for some guys here, lol

  • sxrs

    the whole boozer thing was funny, but it’s kinda easy and lame to make make fun of a guy just putting his ego aside and do what he’s asked to do, even if that means sitting on the bench. There’s 12 guys, you’ll always have an odd men out, and it just happens to be him.

    another thing, how about ricky rubio? Just amazing, being 17 years old, going up against guys like Chris Paul, Jason Kidd, Deron Williams; some of the best PG’s in the NBA, and playing like he does it every day. The kid had 3 beautiful assists, and a lot of his passes were not converted, which made me think, if he’d be the starting PG on team USA, would he do as good a job as Kidd or Paul? His numbers would defenatly be better, throwing lobs to the likes of bronbron and howard

  • K Dizzle

    “while Yi Jianlian (9 pts, 11 rebs) played his best game so far, D’ing up Dirk effectively at times, albeit Dirk finished with 24 and 17 boards”

    If I get 24 and 17 and you got 9 and 11, you didn’t stop me, you got lucky that your teammates stepped up….cuz I still BUST yo ass…

  • Coop

    I don’t know what Gordon’s paying his agent but it’s too much as he should have enlightened Ben as to the current climate of the league vis a vis money. If he won’t take the quali offer, the Bulls won’t offer what he wants and no team is in a position to s+t for him (by which i mean no team needs to pay 70mil for a gunner, and can offer acceptable pieces in return) then he must be going to Europe.

    Made me chuckle when he was quoted as saying “they dont want to go over the tax so it’s a business problem”. No, it’s a greed problem. They offered him 10mil per last year and he wants Deng money. Foolishness.

  • Zibala

    Living in England I get one mens olympic basketball game a day and it’s not always the US, so i’ve seen quite alot of Argentina. I didn’t get a chance to see Luis Scola play in the L last year, but if he played like he does for Argentina in the NBA i swear he could be 6th man of the year if manu starts for the spurs

  • Damon

    completely right. Yi is a bust and china won a lucky game with some officiating that was…bad. they called travelling on Dirks spin and then fadeaway at the free throw line, what a joke.

    OT, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LsIUpFIZWTU

    whats going on at 2:47? no fake? wow

  • miamiVIS3

    You guys are really into this Dwight/Addidas vs. Nike Conspiracy aren’t you?

    Also did anyone see the Chinese team going crazy like they’d just won a gold medal and an NBA title wrapped in one after they beat Germany?

  • j from la

    dream team part 4

  • schoops

    Course China went crazy. They know thy beat a better team, and the win allowed them to advance to the next round in their home country. I’d be pretty ampd too.

    Spain was a bunch fo punks. Marc Gasol is an ugly mofo who resembles what I think Bigfoot would look like.

    One of the best parts about olympics basketball is that NBC is able to bring back their old NBA theme song. Great sh*t.

  • schoops

    Knicks have a new training camp location…. and it’s at my old college. woo woo.


  • Yoooo

    Marc Gasol looks exactly like Hagrid from Harry Potter… (I have a kid im allowed to know that)

    Im waiting for some dick to say “if the US plays like that, Lithuania would beat em…”

  • Luigi

    ii told yall. Team USA was just teasing teams n actually not trying….

    n as for the NBA going XFL…imagine seeing [You Cant See Me] on a Wizards # 2 Deshawn jersey…or on Morrisons jersey..[Stache]…Kobe could probly put Mamba at the back..or Gilbert could just put Agent at the back of his jersey.

    those r some xamples. but BG..no one can relle take him bkuz of his playing style…if he can learn to ply D.. then he could be signed…

    n also Ricky Rubio should just start PG…please idc if Calderon is a spain nash. Rubio is a spain Pistol…lol. i dont relle care what u think though lol. so if ur like “ur logic is gay” n ima be like..wow. [have gotten comments like this b4]

  • Junio

    Hey, fun would be Vujacic with the ‘MACHINE’ jersey….

  • chrisGO

    @ post 9

    I couldnt have said it better myself

  • dagwaller

    Good call, Coop (post 9).

  • Celts Fan

    so apparently what everyone should’ve been saying was, “If they played like that against Spain, they’d’ve won by 37.”

  • Lady Luck

    What team would be a good fit for Ben?

  • Luigi

    ummm a team who needs a vinnie johnson like [Ben = gunner] player. i mean he could fit in Bostons system. but i doubt it. but they need a sign/trade. so who trades for ben?

  • Skeeter McGee

    I knew this would happen. We beat the team that’s supposed to give us a fit and that instantly turns into a “Spain was having a bad day…” kind of argument. Fact is we (the U.S.) are unstoppable at this point, with ourselves being the only ones who can beat us…

  • MoxWestCoastRep


  • Dagomar

    K Dizzle said it best.

    And Rubio is going to be sick someday. By the way, I hope these FIBA refs are opening some peoples’ eyes. NBA refs are FAR from perfect, but these international guys can be a disgrace. Maybe basketball is just a tough sport to officiate, or maybe they’re all a bit crooked.

  • JC

    Marc Gasol’s free throw routine will not cause a stir in the NBA because he won’t play.

    Ricky Rubio = Pistol Pedro. No intent of racism.

    Kobe’s jumper is dry because he’s defending extra tough. I wish he would stick to FGA inside the free throw line.

    Tayshaun Prince stole Michael Redd’s minutes.

    Rudy Fernandez will be glued to the bench.

    Ben Gordon will eat his words shortly or go play overseas.

    About that Kobe-Collinsworth interview… Did anyone feel like it was a bit awkward Collinsworth to ask Kobe “where all this patriotism came from?” I just don’t remember a white player ever being asked that. What about the wrap-up right after the interview when he said “you know, you can say what you want about young people these days, but these young basketball players have really stepped up and represented their country well” or whatever. I say replace “young” with “black” and I think his true sentiment reveals itself lol.

    D-Wade looks hungry for a regular season MVP. Watch for it.

    I’m out like the rest of the field in men’s track 100M.

  • Coop

    Ref that ^

    Usain Bolt is RIDICULOUS.

    That is all.

  • schoops

    @JC… You may be right, but exactly what white players should they interview?

  • Celts Fan

    yes, Usain is. pulls up, showboats, and still beats the WR. insane

    breaking news, Shawn Kemp just signed w/ someone in Italy. ESPNews bottom line only said that much, but good for him. looks like Reign…

  • D.H.

    Any of you guys checking out Olympics Women’s Indoor Volleyball? Right now its Italy vs. Brazil . . . damn very fine, very tall women.

  • krazykrake

    germany got cheated by the refs. they just handed the game to china in the last few possessions. phantom foul calls, yao travelling along the great wall, pushing dirk on defense for the offensive foul on him – talk about home court advantage. man i’m still pissed…

  • rkraicek

    JC, how many black players have been asked that before? In 16 years of NBA players on the national team, how many? Oh, 0? Ok. Think before you accuse someone of racism, lest you come off looking like the one with insecurities.

  • http://dimemag.com Austin Burton

    @JC — I see where you’re coming from. Michael Phelps is 23, Nastia Luikin is 19 (and not born in America) and no one’s said anything like, “I’m surprised how well you represent the country.”

  • rkraicek

    @AB – again, that’s one comment made in the last 16 years. And it’s not like people never question “the youth”, no matter what generation it is. It’s a saying. “Young people these days”. Ever heard of it? How many times have commentators said in the past 16 years, “You can say what you want about black people, but these black basketball players have really stepped up and represented their country well”? Zero?

    If he had mentioned race, I would agree with you. Since he didn’t, I think that you’re being a little paranoid.

  • rkraicek

    “Where did all this patriotism come from?” As in, before a couple years ago, why didn’t you ever play for Team USA? Seriously, think a little bit here.

  • http://www.myspace.com/verbose1 sans

    The best NBA players routinely skip the Olympics and National Team comps. KG, Shaq, Amare, Ray Allen, Pierce…Kobe did it for years too. Of course, he had a bunch of ish going on in CO for a minute, but still, the creme de le creme of USA ball doesn’t play for USA. That’s the biggest thing that happened in 04–no one played for the USA other than AI and Big Fundy, and Bron, Wade, and Melo rotted on the bench in favor of Starbury, Lamar Odom, and Richard Jefferson.

  • rkraicek

    Sans, you’re right. That’s why I think the question, “where did all of this patriotism come from?” was a valid one.

  • that’s whats up

    I can see gordon “fading into bolivian” just because he’s too high on himself

    obviously, the knicks will try to get him

  • http://www.myspace.com/carli_borikua4life daquest?on

    @ 37 that isnt entirely true, the team that the us sent to the 2003 pre olympics in puerto rico was sick, they had ray allen, t mac,elton brand, j kidd, vince carter and alot more. the reason that they dint go to greece was because they were all scared of some “terrorist threats”.

  • Coop

    Teams that need a guy like Gordon:

    Denver (possibly, depends on JR situation)
    Detroit (should they change their personnel policy)

    Can’t think of any more off the top of my head.

    Of those, these would be willing/able to trade for him/sign him to an offer sheet matching his desired figure:

    Hmm? ;)

  • http://dimemag.com Austin Burton

    The problem is that all the teams that “could use” Gordon don’t necessarily “need” him, therefore probably won’t pay him the $72 million he wants.

  • Ernesto

    True, no team “needs” Ben Gordon. Streaky, undersized, poor defenders are a dime a dozen – not $72M per item.