Team USA exorcises Greek ghosts, Artest trade is official, and Stephon Marbury stays a Knick

08.15.08 10 years ago 40 Comments
Dwyane WadeD-Wade, Dime #19

Anyone who is rooting for Team USA obviously wouldn’t mind seeing a string of eight straight 40-piece ass-whuppins in Beijing, but we’re never mad at a good, close game along the way to the medal stand. Thursday’s matchup with Greece was supposed to be the first tough one on Team USA’s Olympic schedule — only Dwyane Wade and crew apparently aren’t too big on drama. Propelled by their now-trademark blowout run in the second quarter, the Americans led by 19 at the break and continually beat back any comeback threats in the second half, eventually winning by 23 … Greece came out of the gate trying to out-physical the U.S. (not a bad strategy; show ’em you’re not scared), but you have to wonder if they’d be that bold if Kevin Garnett or Ron Artest was wearing red, white and blue. Soon after Jason Kidd picked up three fouls in about the time it takes Baby Shaq to do an up-and-back, D-Wade (17 pts, 6 stls, 5 asts) came in and took over. After going into this summer as almost an afterthought, Flash has become The Man on this squad and is simply playing better than anyone else in the world right now. Wade made the play of the game yesterday when, headed out of bounds, he hit Kobe for a crazy no-look alley that Kobe finished with two hands … Chris Bosh (18 pts) played his best international game ever, getting buckets at will and putting a punctuation mark on the first half by swatting one of Greece’s shooters at the top of the key right before the buzzer … We said in our Greece/USA preview that Greece had a chance to win because they excel at all of the facets of the game that have plagued the U.S. in recent international competition. But yesterday they just didn’t have any of it going for them: The Greeks turned the ball over 25 times, hit just 4-of-18 beyond the arc, and only showed their famous chemistry in short bursts. Whenever it started to look like they could make it interesting, they’d shoot themselves in the foot with a turnover, a silly foul or a defensive breakdown that led to a soul-crushing highlight dunk … Kobe finally started finding the net with his jumper, finishing with 18 points, and LeBron put up 13 points, six boards, six dimes, three blocks and two steals … The U.S. wasn’t flawless — they went 35% from three and 56% from the stripe — but this was the best overall game against a quality opponent we’ve seen them play in a while. Spain is up next, perhaps the toughest test they’ll face in this field … Baby Shaq actually got called for goal-tending one time, meaning he at least has a higher vertical than Eddy Curry and Mike Sweetney … We’re not sure when it’s coming, but doesn’t it feel like we’re overdue for a dominant Carmelo Anthony game? … What’s up with Craig Sager rocking a plain green collared shirt? What’s going on over there in Beijing? Was the pimp suit determined to be in bad taste? Were the NBA studio heads not going for the Mr. Whitefolks look? (Bonus points if you know what movie that’s from) … In Thursday’s other Olympic action, Argentina put a previously-scorching Croatia squad on lock-smash, holding them to 53 points total and not letting any player crack double-digits. Andres Nocioni and his long summer hair had 18 points and seven boards, while Manu dropped 14 and eight assists … Yao Ming had a Christian Laettner-at-Duke line against Angola, putting up 30 points on 10-for-11 field goals and 10-for-11 freebies in an easy win. Yao did, however, fail to stomp on anyone’s chest and act like a huge d-bag … Yi Jianlian finally showed up, recording 10 points and 11 boards for China … Spain smacked Germany behind 13 points apiece from Pau Gasol and Jose “Some of my best friends are Asian” Calderon. You know, amidst all the China/Spain Offensive Photo controversy, how awkward is the first meeting between Pau and Sun Yue going to be at Lakers’ training camp? … Lithuania got a big win over Russia, staying undefeated in pool play. Ramunas Siskauskas (reigning Euroleague MVP and one of our “Summer Players to Watch” in Dime #42) put up 16 points, seven boards and three steals to lead the way … Andrei Kirilenko had a classic AK-47 outing in the loss: 17 points, six boards, six assists, six steals and three blocks … So Canada’s Olympic baseball team has an ex-major leaguer named Stubby Clapp. That sounds more like a really bad day at the free clinic than a middle infielder … The Artest trade became official yesterday, which makes Houston’s point guard situation that much more interesting. Second-round pick Sean Singletary (acquired from the Kings) is better than his draft position and could push Steve Francis and Aaron Brooks for PT, while both of them are busy trying to steal Rafer Alston‘s spot, which Rafer is trying to make available by piling up off-court incidents … It’s already seemed like forever, and now Blazers fans have to keep waiting before the future of their franchise suits up together. Just as Greg Oden was on his way back to actual basketball work, Brandon Roy will miss for 4-6 weeks following arthroscopic knee surgery. The injury — a slight meniscus tear — isn’t believed to be too serious, but B-Roy has had knee issues dating back to college, so it’s something to keep an eye on … We have to steal this phrase from reader “Hiram Clarke GO-Rilla” and work it into our vocab: The Blues, as in “Tommy Mason-Griffin will give your favorite PG the BLUES.” That’s what Hiram had to say about the Class of 2009 high schooler (committed to Oklahoma), who we saw wrecking shop at the Nike Global Challenge last weekend. TMG is no taller than 5-10, but he’s built like a tank and his handle is secure like an armored car. Check him out on … Who else but DeShawn Stevenson would be caught doing THIS on YouTube? It’s like he’s publicly pitching his own reality show, “2 Family Matters” … Was Donnie Walsh’s decision to keep Stephon Marbury for the time being really a genuine case of giving a veteran a chance to prove himself, or was it just a result of the Knicks being unable to find a trade partner? Either way, Chris Duhon just got some legit competition for the starting job he thought was his, while Mike D’Antoni just woke up in another cold sweat … We’re out like Spanoulis …

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