There weren’t any Team USA 1992 throwback unis and nowhere to be found was the pressure of the knockout stage of the Olympics. Yet Tuesday’s Team USA win over Spain, 100-78, was a chance to see how these teams matched up after days of “will they or won’t they” talk surrounding strategy. If you’re Spain, Marc Gasol didn’t play at forward, and he’s an advantage inside over every U.S. interior defender not named Tyson Chandler. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Despite mixed reviews of some guys calling this a “friendly” and Mike Krzyzewski saying it was the biggest game in Barcelona since ’92, there were a lot of highlight reel plays. Hit the jump to check out the five best.
5. LEBRON WITH THE FLUSH
When the U.S. runs pick and rolls between LeBron and Kevin Durant, two of the best passing bigs (even though KD is of course a 6-10 guard) ever to play, it’s a thing of understated beauty. The bungled Spanish “switch, nevermind don’t switch!” D contributes to this, of course. It should be interesting to see how much better the Spanish get by the knockout stage.
4. CALDERON TO IBAKA
On the pitch, the Spanish style of passing has born what many call the greatest soccer team, ever. Even without Ricky Rubio, the Spanish hoops counterparts can dish, as well. Take Jose Calderon here in the first quarter. His drive on Kevin Durant to the middle of the key sucks in Deron Williams off Serge Ibaka for some reason. Calderon doesn’t force the pass as quick as possible and risk KD getting a piece of it, instead waiting to get the two in the air and maximizing the pass.