It’s been a crazy 2 games for the USA male basketball team. Team US just destroyed team Nigeria to an embarrassing, record-breaking and massive blow out. The historic game also included historic personal games from New York Knicks Carmelo Anthony, which make it rain, pour actually. Shooting and astonishing 10 straight 3 pointers to get 37 points, in 14 minutes and 29 seconds of gameplay, the most in the history of the Olympics so far.
The aftertaste of the game was that the US ran up the score and humiliate its opponent, fitting all too right on the bully image the US has proudly held for so many years. This same feeling came in 1992 against Angola, but this time around the backlash was backed by social networks and blogs around the globe. After all 83 points were just a bit too much than necessary to make sure they won.
From Basketball pundits like Sekou Smith to even some plays suggested that everyone wanted this over, and just see the final buzzer sound. US ran up the clock just to make sure that they wont keep scoring, benched the hot handed Melo for most of the 2nd half as well as Kobe and LeBron. But it was just too much to hide and new players kept showing up, including Harden and Westbrook. Coach K even felt the reaction was offensive and insulting to the team, while the coach of Nigeria was more relaxed about the situation and limited to give props to the USA basketball.
42 hours later.
After the whole scene against Nigeria different sense about the end of a somewhat close game. Lithuania, a team that has had a less than impressive run so far with a 1-2 record go against the US. To the surprise and suspicion of many this game was closed from beginning to end, giving a final score of 94-99 in favor of the US. Lithuania held close on the scoreboard and even ahead for a few seconds, with the US giving dunks or 3 pointers in order to send them back behind. Eventually on the 4th quarter, LeBron James took over and make sure the US finished with a somewhat stable score.
Back in the NBA, Miami used to gamble with weak teams and pull close games so that people got to see the stars play up to the end as opposed to blowing them off by the end of the 3rd and turn the game into a summer league game. The game against Lithuania got a sense of those kind of games and I think the same gamble applies, after all both Miami and USA basketball have the same exit strategy on their lineup.
The gossiping and speculation will continue this great USA team and blogs like this will try to paint a picture on what goes on in the minds of these teams.