Sunday, August 10, 2008

No Doubt About It...

As a fan of basketball and well, America, I hope today's opening round game for the U.S. Men's Basketball team was a sign of what's to come for the rest of the competition. A game that was close for awhile against China, turned into a 101-70 rout. For the U.S. to open up versus the Olympic host was a daunting task. China has a strong team and fans on their side. It was a game of great magnitude; a game China wanted to come out and take from the U.S.

While their hopes were conceivable at the start, Team USA quickly made them seem far too ambitious as the game carried on. China came out with something to prove, knocking down threes and holding the U.S. stars in check. But once Lebron and company got going, there was no looking back. When Jason Kidd took his first rest, Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade came off the bench with a spark. They got the transition game going, leaving China in their dust. The U.S. run-n'-gun style offense was too much for the Chinese. It led to dunk after dunk for Team USA. With each slam, the U.S. got more and more confident and more and more amped. They refused to be embarassed.

The game featured a lot of flash. The "Flash" himself, D-Wade, completed many acrobatic plays, including a few exciting dunks en route to his game-high 19 points. The man that really stole the show though, was Lebron. King James was unstoppable. Playing alongside the best in the NBA gave Lebron the space to go to work. China couldn't afford to send double and triple teams at James, because his teammates were just as capable to hurt them. With a spread court, James got to the rim at will and finished with authority. The most authoritative coming as the recipient of an alley-oop from Wade in the second quarter. He put on a show on the defensive side as well. On a fastbreak for China, James hustled the length of the court to pin the layup attempt on the backboard. Later that quarter, on a shot block attempt, he actually caught the ball during its flight to the basket. As usual, Lebron was a man amongst boys.

But the real story was the job Team USA did as a whole. The 31 point victory against a talented Chinese squad was a great start to the games for the U.S. If the team can continue to keep its transition game running and their defensive pressure on, they should have a legitimate shot at the Gold. Round 1 of their shot at redemption was a success. The USA powerhouse appears to be back.

Images taken from Yahoo! Sports

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