Sunday, August 26, 2007

Team USA Crushes Canada

USA 113, Canada 63

- This game was a little bit better test of Team USA's true prowess since they were playing a solid squad who has the talent to at least qualify for the pre-Olympic tourney. And Team USA didn't skip a beat, they pounded Canada much the same way they pounded Venezuela & Virgin Islands.

- Melo is playing like he did in Japan with his jumper nearly automatic, and he even looked fairly impressive on the defensive end deflecting balls on a few occasions. Mike Redd was brought to this team to be a deep-shooting threat, and he has not failed to disappoint in this tourney--Redd is shooting 12/24 for 3pt in the tourney, & 2nd on the team in scoring at 19 ppg. Redd dropped 19 on Canada, 5/10 from 3pt. Team USA ripped it up from the outside--shooting 15/30 from 3pt. land, and even went 91% from the free thrw line--when Team USA shoots like this it usually bad news for their opponent.

- Team USA's defense was mighty impressive stifling Canada all game (Canada shot 33% overall). Coach K looks like he's made the commitment to switch most of the screens on the perimeter, and Team USA did a fair amount of double-teaming in their half-court set. Though Team Canada's offense is not that explosive lacking any real dynamic scoring option, specifcally no one who really puts pressure on the defense with good dribble-drive ability, and also lacking a true PG who can direct an offense.

- Today I was most impressed with Dwight Howard's effort on the defensive end. Not only challenged shots in the interior, he really showed hard on perimeter screens, and just great activity all-around. He never really let Dalembert become a factor after Dalembert had been having a nice tourney. Kobe's all-around effort was top-notch once again, and put the clamps down on Carl English, not to mention had his jumper flowing for 15 pts. Bron seems quite content with others taking the scoring load while he fills in the holes around them--Bron had 10, 8 rebs, & 4assts.

- Olu Famutimi was the lone Canadian to impress with 17 pts on 6/12 shooting, 3/5 from deep. Famutimi showed why he was considered a top-flite high school star by drilling jumpers in a variety of ways, and the NBDL star made a case for an NBA training camp invite. Former Pitt Panter Levon Kendall had a solid game with 10 & 9 rebs, and made a few nice hustle plays in transition.

- Tonite's tilt vs. Brazil is most likely a preview of the Americas final. Brazil does have the ability to neutralize Team USA on the frontline, so it will be left up to the perimeter players to make the difference, which should be little to no problem for the US. I imagine Kobe will have the assignment of checking Barbosa. It will be interesting to see if Coach K pairs Amare & Dwight on the frontline together tonite because Brazil could be throwing out Nene & Splitter together. Team USA's also has to keep track of Marcelo Machado, who is a threat to go off from long-range. It will interesting to see if Brazil tries to push the pace vs. the US; Brazil's has pretty good team speed, and they are succesful when they look to go up-tempo. This will probably be one of the rare occasions that Team USA actually gets tested this summer.