Perhaps the two most notable things about this game against Germany are:
1. How sharp USA played in a “meaningless game,” and
2. How USA strayed from the winning formula it has been using so far in international play.
Because USA could force themselves to play with such sharpness in a meaningless game like this, I’m thinking there won’t be any let downs in the medal games to come.
But it’s really remarkable how USA strayed from the winning formula it used in previous games. So I should remark on it.
<> Up until now, USA was -4 in rebounding against their opponents, but today USA was +15 in rebounding over Germany! Everyone pretty much rebounded as they have been, except Dwight Howard, Carlos Boozer and Tayshaun Prince stepped up their rebounding efforts considerably.
<> USA found points inside from their big men, most notably Dwight Howard. He scored 22 points in 19 minutes! Carlos Boozer, though, had 6 points and 6 rebounds in just 9 minutes.
<> 59 of USA’s 106 points came from forwards and centers, and Carmelo Anthony was only 4 of those 59 points. However, because Kobe Bryant has been playing small forward at times, that number is probably higher.
<> The 18 turnovers USA got from Germany is the lowest of the Olympics. And USA had only 18 points off of turnovers against Germany, which is their lowest point total off of turnovers in the Olympics (they had 28 against Spain, 25 against Greece, 25 against Angloa).
In other words, Germany slowed down the pace, cared for the ball better than other teams so USA scored less in transition, and tried to force USA’s bigs to beat them from inside… and USA did!
Because USA has been leveraging their transition game, creating easy points for themselves off of turnovers, I’ve been wondering if opposing teams would start to slow down the pace, care for the ball better, and try to force Team USA’s bigs to beat them from inside in a half court game, and if USA’s bigs were up to the challenge. Well, they sure were against Germany.
– This was the first game USA took control of right away. The other games, teams had success against USA until USA found their way, then had their way with their opponents.
– Germany missed 9 of its first 10 shots, and went down 18 to 3 in the early going.
– USA never allowed Germany to score more than 17 points in a quarter.
– Michael Redd, USA’s shooting specialist, was 1 of 9 from the floor and 0 of 4 from the arc in his 13 minutes of play.
– USA shot 61.1 percent from the free throw line. Dwight, you are embarrassing us! Germany’s Dirk Nowitzki was 5 of 5.
– The player with the most minutes this game was… Tayshaun Prince! Only Prince and Chris Paul had more than 20 minutes of playing time.
– Kobe missed two dunks?! Maybe someone ought to bring out an Aston Martin to motivate him to get jumping.
– The last time USA basketball was beating teams by this much, Color Me Badd and Right Said Fred topped the charts, Wayne’s World and Batman Returns were in theaters, and Eric Clapton won a grammy for “Tears in Heaven.” That was the original 1992 Dream Team, and their competition then was no where near as good as the “Redeem Team’s” competition is now.