Team USA Spanks The Spaniards; The Magic Are Still A Mess

07.25.12 7 years ago

Anybody care to explain why no other Olympian or group of Olympians is subject to as much scrutiny as the U.S. men’s basketball team? Whether Michael Phelps wins by a hundredth of a second or blows his competition out of the water, all that really matters is that he wins. If Usain Bolt wins by two strides or by the taco meat on his chest, a win’s still a win. Just take a minute and watch sports like gymnastics and diving this year; the U.S. can win bronze or silver and it’s still treated like an amazing accomplishment rather than a huge failure. But when it comes to USA Basketball, even the games that don’t count are picked apart and over-analyzed for potential red flags and signs of trouble. Maybe it’s because the media and public are so accustomed to constantly criticizing NBA players during the season that they can’t stop themselves when Kobe and Chris Paul and the guys swap their NBA uniforms for the Team USA gear … And that’s what made yesterday’s 100-78 romp over gold medal contender Spain a bit different than usual — the noticeable decrease in the nit-picking department. In the last exhibition game for Team USA before the London Games, Carmelo Anthony dropped 27 points off the bench, LeBron scored 25 to go with seven dimes, and Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook sparked the decisive run in the third quarter that put Pau Gasol (19 pts) and his group to bed for good … If you took Spain’s starting lineup from yesterday — Jose Calderon, J.C. Navarro, Rudy Fernandez, Serge Ibaka and Pau Gasol — and gave them an average NBA-caliber bench and a decent coach, how many games would they win in an 82-game season? Are they a playoff team? …

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