Wednesday, August 23, 2006

USA vs. Italy: Acceptable & Unacceptable

I'd like to add a couple thoughts to Jay Aych's post on the USA-Italy game below.

- It's grudging, of course, but I have to accept that Team USA is going to struggle to stop penetration and cover the three-point line. That's just their makeup and the way it is - they need to play a gambling style of defense to force the pace and take advantage of their depth, and they're just not used to the int'l style of O. At least it's better than '04, when the U.S. struggled with penetration and threes, yet *didn't* take advantage of huge strengths like athleticism and depth.

- 19-34 FT shooting. Horrendous. Even got a glimpse of Coach K muttering "F***ing free throws" after one miss. Margin would have been where it should have been if the U.S. had shot 'em reasonably.

- Rebounding! This was the part of the game that drove me crazy: Italy was at a serious athleticism disadvantage, barely played anyone over 6-8, and RAN AN OFFENSE WITH NO POST PLAYER for half the game, yet still outrebounded the U.S. 31-26, including 10-8 on the O-boards. Completely, utterly unacceptable.

- LeBron. I just don't understand the standstill threes with a hand in his face, esp. when they're playing man defense. There's not a soul who can guard him man-to-man in the tournament, and I don't for the life of me understand why he's not attacking at will a la D Wade. They're really going to need him to do this if a team like ARG or ESP comes out in man-to-man.


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