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Psychedelic Fuzz
08-03-2004, 04:00 PM
Did anyone else see the exhibition game this afternoon?

It was hard to tell whether the gap is closing and the euros can stand toe to toe with us, or if Team USA has come down with a case of lakeritis. In any case, Duncan, Iverson and company got out-passed, out-hustled, and simply outplayed by the Italians. The freethrow shooting by the US was nothing short of comical.

Meanwhile, the thorough spanking was interrupted periodically by Larry Brown making excuses about how young the team is and how the NBA players gear themselves toward titles while the euros prepare for world championships and the olympics. (Guess I should have prefaced that by saying I'm not a huge LB fan after his spat with Cuban over international players and insurance.)

I also have to call into question the construction of this team. There is absolutely no perimeter shooting and a surprising lack of versatility. Meanwhile the Italians laid the smack down with zone defenses and good perimeter shooting, particularly on inside out type plays.

In short, aside from innate patriotism, I can find exactly no reasons to get behind a national team full of uninterested players from rival teams. Meanwhile, I found myself drawn to the Italians for reasons I couldn't put my finger on...until Bill Walton compared them to the Mavs.

grndmstr_c
08-03-2004, 04:09 PM
I also have to call into question the construction of this team.To me, this is the real problem. The US team is just so 1-dimensional that teams can just zone up and pack it in and there won't be a damn thing the US can do about it unless they just catch a lucky hot streak from outside. They'll have to pull a page out of the Nets' playbook and try to win by clamping down on defense and then using their athleticism to run it back down the opposition's throat.

Psychedelic Fuzz
08-03-2004, 05:18 PM
Here's the ESPN article

Tuesday, August 3, 2004


Associated Press
COLOGNE, Germany -- The U.S. men's Olympic team did more than merely lose. It was embarrassed and exposed in its most lopsided defeat since adding NBA players in 1992.


Losing an exhibition game for the first time when using NBA players, the Americans were completely outclassed by lightly regarded Italy, never even making it close in the fourth quarter of a 95-78 upset Tuesday.

"This is a wakeup call for us," Philadelphia 76ers star Allen Iverson said. "I think we need something like this to understand it's not going to be easy."


The Americans were sloppy with the ball and couldn't handle Italy's zone defenses and 3-point shooting. Italy not only made 15 from behind the arc but also showed superior ball movement and poise in shocking the Americans.


"They're going to be in for a lot of lessons for the next few weeks," U.S. coach Larry Brown said. "It's a young team, and it's a different game internationally."


But the problems have not just come on the court for the U.S. team. Before the team's win over Puerto Rico on Saturday, Brown suspended Iverson, LeBron James and Amare Stoudemire because the trio was late for a team meeting.


Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony led the Americans with 19 points, and two-time NBA MVP Tim Duncan added 15 points and a team-high 10 rebounds.


Italy, whose roster is filled entirely by players from that country's league, was led by Giacomo Galanda's 28 points and Gianluca Basile's 25.


"We took them by surprise," Italian coach Carlo Recalcati said. "They didn't expect us to be such good shooters. They didn't know us."


While the Italians were fifth at the Sydney Olympics, the United States is unbeaten at the Summer Games and in Olympic qualifying since NBA players were allowed in 1992, taking four straight gold medals. It will seek a fifth in a row at the Aug. 13-29 Athens Olympics.


But the United States is sending its youngest team to the Olympics -- the average age is 23 -- since the door opened for NBAers.


"We need more time together," new Lakers forward Lamar Odom said. "These teams play together for years, and we have to put it together in a couple of weeks."


At the 2002 World Championships, an American team with NBA players was beaten for the first time, 87-80 by Argentina. The United States went on to lose twice more in that tournament and finished sixth.


In an effort to avoid a similar display, the current U.S. squad is touring Europe before heading to Greece. On Wednesday, it will face Dirk Nowitzki-led Germany, which beat Italy 85-77 Sunday.


On Tuesday, Iverson's jump shot trimmed Italy's lead to 56-52 with just under three minutes left in the third quarter. But the Americans never got closer. On Italy's next two trips down the floor, Basile made 3-pointers that stretched the underdogs' lead to 62-52.


Iverson winced when Massimo Bulleri made a 3-pointer despite falling down and having the past NBA scoring champion's hand in his face late in the third quarter.


"We just didn't communicate well on defense," Iverson said.


The Americans had all sorts of problems on defense and offense, getting called for three shot-clock violations and several traveling calls in front of 14,831 spectators.


The Italians were 15-of-35 from behind the line, while the Americans went just 4-for-13, justifying Brown's fears that his team might be short on pure shooters.


Word of the stunning result spread quickly.


"That was a surprise," said Houston Rockets center Yao Ming, who watched the game on TV after China lost to Argentina in Belgrade, Serbia-Montenegro. "I think they will get better in a few weeks, few days. So, no problem."


At Belgrade Arena, the crowd at the Diamond Ball Tournament for Olympic teams let out a loud cheer when the score was announced over the public address system.


"The competition out here is a lot tougher than people think it is," said Del Harris, China's Olympic coach and an assistant with the Dallas Mavericks.

fin4life
08-03-2004, 07:22 PM
The zone defense will completely stop the USA as long as they have no shooters. They need to adapt to the foriegn game when playing in international competition (just like foriegn players ajust to the NBA game when they play here). Every team in the olympics will have better shooters than the US and that will be the downfall of the USA.

Just watch tomarrow as Dirk and germany outshoot us.

EricaLubarsky
08-03-2004, 08:36 PM
Maybe players will have to go to practice now.

V2M
08-04-2004, 09:16 AM
Originally posted by: fin4life
The zone defense will completely stop the USA as long as they have no shooters. They need to adapt to the foriegn game when playing in international competition (just like foriegn players ajust to the NBA game when they play here). Every team in the olympics will have better shooters than the US and that will be the downfall of the USA.

Just watch tomarrow as Dirk and germany outshoot us.

Although I'm glad for Mavs, Fin's not playing... they need his shooting to beat the zone.

Chiwas
08-04-2004, 12:55 PM
I liked a lot the amateur teams of the US. I remember the Gloriuous battles against the USSR.

They had passion for the game, eagerness for beating the other teams.

It would not be a bad idea to send the kids again to compete in the Olympics. It would benefit the NBA, in the end.