Gold Standard

09.03.07 10 years ago 25 Comments

There was nothing new in the way Team USA went about taking the gold medal at the FIBA Americas tournament yesterday. After watching Kobe, LeBron, Carmelo and crew pound on Argentina a couple days ago, the only way they were losing on Sunday was if they somehow completely lost focus, fell apart mentally and couldn’t hit the side of Mike Sweetney with their shots. No such luck. ‘Bron was the star this time around, sticking eight threes and finishing with 31 points in another piecing. Earlier in the tourney, we attributed LeBron’s suddenly automatic J to the fact that he was no longer fading away on his release. Yesterday ‘Bron had his little fade going and was still hitting, so maybe it’s just more of a confidence thing … Kobe had some sick passes, with a couple going to Dwight Howard for monster dunks. (Dwight seemed to be in a contest with ‘Bron to see who could dunk harder.) Back when Kobe said he wanted to be traded and there was reportedly only one team he was willing to go to, do you think Orlando was ever in consideration? Watching Mamba (8 asts) and Dwight (20 pts) work together yesterday, they looked great … LeBron threw up the Roc symbol during the medal ceremony … Luis Scola took home tournament MVP. Um, WHAT?!? Yeah, we know he led his team to silver and averaged 19 points and 7 boards a game, but come on. Does the fact that his team got destroyed twice by the gold-medal team mean nothing? How about giving MVP to Carmelo, who averaged 21 points and 5 boards per game? Or Kobe, who averaged 15 ppg and was the leader of hands-down the best team defense in the tournament? Or maybe LeBron, who averaged 18 points on 76 percent shooting from the field? Giving it to Scola just smacks of “consolation prize” … If they kept a stat for “Most Times Dunked On” for the tournament, Martin Leiva (#11 for Argentina) would have run away with it. Puerto Rico’s Peter John Ramos might have been up there if he actually challenged anyone going to the basket … Check this out: According to the Forth Worth Star-Telegram, Bill Walton and his rotating play-by-play guys were NOT in Vegas during the FIBA tourney. “They are calling the game action from a studio in Bristol, Conn.,” the article said. “An ESPN spokesman described that as ‘a production decision.'” You know, now that we think about it, they never did do the usual camera shot on the announcers during breaks with fans acting like morons in the background, nor were there any sideline-reporter interviews from what we remember … With all the attention being given to non-USA standouts like Barbosa Scola and Batista, no one was really talking about Larry Ayuso. The “other” guard on Team Puerto Rico (behind Carlos Arroyo and Jose Juan Barea) was getting it done consistently throughout, and yesterday capped it off by hanging 39 points and 8 treys on Brazil in the bronze-medal game. Ayuso has had a look here and there in the League, but since he’s only about 6-2 and isn’t a PG, he’s stuck in that “tweener” pergatory. But really, what are guys like Damon Jones and Eddie House doing that Ayuso couldn’t do? The announcers were all over him yesterday, too, saying every NBA team needs shooters and he’d be a good fit … As good as Ayuso was, it’s not like Arroyo was bad. He dropped 30 and 10 dimes in the win … Nene didn’t play. He hurt his calf in the semifinal loss to Argentina and could be out 4-6 weeks … Earlier in the day we caught a replay of a USA/Australia game from ’96. At halftime they were talking about that year’s free agent class, which was ridiculous: Jordan, Zo, Reggie, Mutombo, Payton, Shaq and Rodman were all on the market that year. Nuts. MJ had just signed a one-year deal with the Bulls for $25-30 million around the time of that particular game, Reggie was reportedly being pursued hard by the Knicks, and Shaq was “very impressed” by the Lakers’ presentation … We’re out like MVP Luis Scola …

Around The Web