Team USA is becoming rather notorious for getting off to slow starts against their opponents here in Rio so far. In their opening game against China this week, they started 0-of-5 from the field. However, they went on to win that game by an astounding 57-point margin.
They started just as poorly and lethargically against Venezuela on Monday, and it was all tied up at 18 apiece after a dreadful opening quarter. They committed six turnovers and shot just over 46 percent from the field, including 33 percent from downtown. The players themselves couldn’t believe it.
But it wasn’t just the USA’s poor play. The Venezuelans were out-hustling them, especially on the boards, where they held a 14-10 advantage early in the second quarter. Gregory Echenique, a burly 6’9 big man who played collegiately at Rutgers, proved especially tough for the Americans to handle.
— ⓂarcusD (@_MarcusD_) August 8, 2016
Needless to say, keep an eye on this game. An upset still seems unlikely, but Team USA is exhibiting the weaknesses that could make winning a third consecutive gold medal more difficult than anyone’s anticipating.