Why Team USA won: Kevin Durant. He absolutely owned the last three games of the World Championship, dropping 33 on Russia in the quarterfinals, 38 on Lithuania in the semis, and 28 on Turkey in the gold-medal finale. Everyone in the building knew KD would be the focal point, and yet most of his buckets today were standstill jump shots, as he was able to play catch-and-shoot and score within the flow of the Team USA offense. Read More »
/ Sep 12, 2010 / 2:10 am
Just when you began to wonder if Kevin Durant was getting too much hype this summer, he went out and proved he’s worth every bit of it. After dropping 33 points on Russia to lead Team USA to the World Championship semifinals, yesterday KD went off again on Lithuania, hanging 38 points (14-25 FG, 5 threes) and 9 boards on the previously-undefeated squad to lift the U.S. to the gold-medal game with another double-digit W … Durant (who wrote 9/11 messages on his shoes) was on fire early and carried the U.S. offense throughout. Read More »
/ Sep 11, 2010 / 1:19 am
We’re all the way to the Final Four of the World Championship, and it’s still not clear whether Team USA is simply way better than almost everybody, or if they’ve yet to get a truly tough test (beyond the Brazil game). After today’s semifinal there won’t be any doubt, though. Lithuania has been ballin’ in the WC, going undefeated and coming off a surprisingly easy smashing of Argentina. Linas Kleiza is playing out of his mind, averaging 19.1 points and 7.4 rebounds … Can Danny Granger get some PT today? Read More »
/ Sep 3, 2010 / 6:13 am
It seems like the easier the opponent, the harder Team USA insists on making things for themselves. But at least they’re still winning, and usually by blowout margins. Yesterday’s World Championship matchup against Group B doormat Tunisia was supposed to be a harmless stomping — and when it was over, Coach K‘s team was up 35 on the scoreboard — but the lasting impression was that the most talented team in the WC field let a clearly inferior squad hang in with them for the entire first half (Team USA led by six at the break) and some of the third quarter before Eric Gordon (21 pts), Russell Westbrook (14 pts) led the bench mob in restoring order to the mismatch … Read More »
Ask yourself: How many people had Duke as a preseason national title favorite last year? Outside of Durham, N.C., close to zero. The Blue Devils were ranked 9th and 8th, respectively, in the preseason AP and ESPN/coaches polls. They were considered a dangerous team, but not on the level of Kansas and Kentucky.
Over the course of the schedule, however, the realization hit that Duke possessed most of the pieces you’d want for a national title run: Experienced guards, quality shooters, versatile forwards, solid defense, good coaching and NBA-caliber talent in the right spots. Throw in a healthy “Us against the world” mentality (because they’re Duke) and a favorable NCAA Tournament bracket, and the Evil Empire was back on top of the game. Read More »
/ Sep 2, 2010 / 9:00 am
Labor Day Weekend is one of my favorites in NYC for one reason: The West Indian Day Parade. Having been born and raised in Seattle, essentially a small town if you’re Black, simply being around 2-3 million people who look like me is something that has to be experienced to be believed. And everybody is wrapped in their national flags — Jamaica, Haiti, Trinidad, St. Croix, etc. — in one of the most colorful, upbeat parties you’ll ever see. Read More »
/ Sep 1, 2010 / 11:40 am
I’ve never dealt directly with a bookie, and I don’t know much about gambling, so I have to ask: Is there such a scenario where you’d lose money on “winning” bet? For today’s Team USA vs. Iran matchup, putting $100 on the U.S. to win should cost you at least and extra $50 just out of pure shame in trying to get over so easily.
While Iran did pick up a win yesterday to run their record to 1-2 in Group B, it’s safe to say they’ll be fortunate here to keep the margin under 30. I’m usually one to pull for the underdog, and while there’s a part of me that wants Iran to do well, let’s be realistic: Hamed Haddadi is by far the best player on the team, and he might be the worst player in the NBA. Read More »
/ Aug 31, 2010 / 1:40 am
When you’re not the ’92 Dream Team and penciled in to flog everybody by 30 or 50 points a night, you probably need some close games under your belt to test your clutch-ness and avoid complacency. For Team USA’s 2010 version, that game happened yesterday, as they barely hung on to beat Brazil in a tough contest that exposed a lot of U.S. weaknesses but also may have done them some good for later in the World Championship … Led by Leandro Barbosa, Tiago Splitter and J.J. Barea‘s long-lost cousin Marcelo Huertas, Brazil took the lead in the first quarter and didn’t give it up until late into the third, picking the U.S. apart with screen-and-rolls, timely threes, and Barbosa’s brand of South American Allen Iverson basketball, heavy on the jack … Read More »
/ Aug 30, 2010 / 3:11 am
Even more than the Lakers, Celtics, Duke, and Bob Hurley Sr.‘s kids at St. Anthony’s High School in Jersey; we can’t think of a team that is more heavily scruitinized than USA Basketball’s senior national group. Only during a Team USA summer do you hear “unimpressive” and “22-point win” put next to each other, which was the case from a lot of critics following yesterday’s 99-77 win over Slovenia at the World Championship … Sure, there was stuff to gripe about: Derrick Rose guided an offense that committed 17 turnovers, and Slovenia shot 33 free throws, and Coach K had some questionable subbing patterns, yanking Kevin Durant at times when it seemed he was about to single-handedly blow the game wide open. Read More »
A couple of nights ago, my Dad was talking about the upcoming FIBA World Basketball Championship and Team USA when he asked me, for like the fourth time this summer, “So where are all the superstar guys?”
After running down, again, the list of who was hurt (Kobe, CP, D-Will), who was a free agent (LeBron, D-Wade, Bosh, Boozer), and who just didn’t want to do it (Dwight, J-Kidd, ‘Melo), my Dad seemed confused.
“Wait … so this is the team?” Talking about the guys he saw squeak past Spain by one point on Sunday. “They don’t have none of the superstars!” Read More »