Just for fun, I've drawn up a game plan as if we were coaching Team Australia in Wednesday's game against Team USA.
Of course, there's little chance the Aussies will upset the U.S. in this one, but we've still got to play the game, so here's the plan:
THE FIVE KEYS TO WINNING
1. Believe we can win.
2. Transition defense: Take away "easy baskets." We want to eliminate Team USA's possessions.
3. Value the ball. Be patient with our "Princeton Offense" and its principles. Spread the floor. Penetrate. Knock down the 3-ball.
Remember: We want to "shorten the game." Even though we played great up-tempo vs Lithuania, and we're comfortable in the up-tempo game. Push and look for easy baskets, but be patient.
4. On defense, go over the top. Keep the lane compact. Force Team USA to shoot perimeter jump shots.
5. Spurts and runs. We must control two of the three runs in this game. We simply can't allow Team USA to go on a 10-2 run. Think TEMPO and TIMEOUTS.
1. Take care of the ball. No unforced turnovers. Goal: 12 turnovers or less. We will play both point guards together in CJ Bruton and Patty Mills as the game goes on.
2. No quick perimeter jump shots. These can lead to long boards and run-outs for the Americans.
3. Only our 4 and 5 men to offensive glass. Our 1, 2, and 3 guys are in a track meet. Sprint back in transition defense.
4. Pick-n-roll package. We will change angles all night.
5. Post up the 4 spot. When Team USA goes small, we'll post up and kick out on sagging defense.
6. Team USA wing denial. Look for backdoor cuts. No soft passes! Direct, crisp passes. Meet all passes with two hands. No QB interceptions on passes.
1. Transition defense is critical.
2. Contain dribble-penetration. Keep point guards (Kidd, Paul and Williams) in front of you. Any time Wade, Bryant, or James catch the ball, our other four must shrink the floor and force the perimeter skip pass.
3. Defensive glass: All 5 to the defensive glass. No leak-outs.
Patrick Mills: We need you to get in the lane and create shots.
Andrew Bogut: You must be a force on the glass all night. Take the 3 if Team USA's bigs don't come out and challenge you.
Brad Newley: Keep playing with the confidence and at the high level you've been playing at. We need your points.
Chris Anstey: You've got the green light on all open 3 balls.
C.J. Bruton: Stay composed against Team USA's ball pressure. Your international experience is big.
SCOUTING TEAM USA
K. Bryant and L. James: We will give help. Play straight up and trust your teammates behind you.
D. Wade: Force him to take the jump shot. Keep him out of the lane. Chase him down in transition.
C. Anthony: Scores in lots of ways. Match his physical play in the post. Play his jab-step and limit his offensive rebounds. Make him defend pick-n-rolls.
J. Kidd: Randomly leave Kidd to "over-help" on all Bryant, Wade, and James catches. Hands out for passing deflections. Play him as a quarterback surveying the field.
C. Paul: Back off of him. Keep him out of the lane.
D. Howard: Meet him early and box out. Don't give him an angle to score. Make him shoot over a hand. No lobs!
C. Boozer: Be physical. Take away the mid-range shot and play his left-hand finish.
M. Redd: Don't leave him. "Hand in the eyes" on all 3-balls.
D. Wiliams: Play him straight up.
C. Bosh: Be physical with him. Keep him off the offensive glass.
T. Prince: Make him beat us.