The U.S. men are about to get their toughest test of the Olympics. And it still won’t be a game. Lithuania plays the record-setting Americans on Saturday, two days after they detonated Nigeria by 83 points. After that one, a mini-controversy has erupted around whether the team purposefully ran up the score on the helpless Olympic debutantes. Nah; we mean, the U.S. just could not miss. Now, they weren’t exactly holding the ball in four corners, but even though we aren’t quiet buying Coach K saying that Nigeria’s coach would have been “humiliated” if the U.S. didn’t play hard the whole way, they did have to put the ball up every 24 seconds. When they did, Nigeria had neither the guys to defend it or the ability to cool off the U.S. touch. So that’s that. Now is Lithuania, the three-time bronze-medalist. … There’s a reason to watch this game, but an upset isn’t really it. It’s to watch Jonas Valanciunas, the big guy who’s going to Toronto right after the Olympics are over. We’ve shown you his best highlight of the summer, when he had a facial dunk on an off-the-backboard alley-oop. That had to get all the thousands of Raptors fans excited, but then they realized their guards were just going to pull every chance they got again from 18 feet. … Don’t trip all over yourself just talking about the dominance of the U.S. men. They’ve been incredible so far but it seems like they’re one loss away from slipping into a 2004 Olympics inferiority complex all over again. Perfection is the only standard. The U.S. women, meanwhile, have dropped 37 straight teams at the Olympics after beating the Czech Republic 88-61. The team’s been together for seven weeks, basically cutting the WNBA season in half to assemble a team. You have to keep in mind that women’s basketball, globally, is on a slower track of development than the NBA. Even with the NBA and the high-powered Russian clubs that lure American stars over there in the offseason to play, there just aren’t as many opportunities to play, and thus, incentives to keep going. Still, if we can have reverence for the ’92 Dream Team blowing away teams like the Heat playing your City League champs, we can appreciate how good the Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi and Tamika Catchings and Candace Parker crew is right now. … OK it’s been a minute since we’ve talked much about free-agency signings because that well has almost run dry. And yet … C.J. Miles has agreed to join the Cavaliers, ending the search for a new home after Utah never came biting for the swingman who’s struggled to show he can do much, consistently, besides put defenders on posters. … Troy Murphy turned down Real Madrid’s offer. … The Birdman Chris Andersen has let it be known he will play for the veteran’s minimum, but no one’s biting much on the 34-year-old. Does he fit for the Knicks as a “basketball reason”? His salary would — the vet’s minimum is all N.Y. can offer. … The issue of the Olympics turning into a U-23 tourney vs. an NBA-owned World Cup of Basketball has been a better storyline than men’s hoops at points this summer. Kobe called the idea “stupid,” which probably made David Stern give out a condescending laugh somewhere. Today players union head Billy Hunter said he expects the players to have the voice some have said they want to stick with the current format. Hmm, the timing of his release about 36 hours after Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski wrote Hunter was too busy fortifying himself against a player mutiny to be bothered with fighting Stern over the issue. Nah, can’t be a coincidence. Let’s be honest about the reason the players want to continue in the Olympics: the athlete’s village. Even though Team USA isn’t staying there because of security concerns, you can bet they love soaking up the adoration from not just some courtside fans but peers. Then there’s the issue that it sounds like a non-stop party, too. Is LeBron going to wear his Team No Sleep shirt again once the U.S. wins gold? … If you’re in Philly, you need to drop by the block party. No excuses. … We’re out like Michael Phelps.
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