Sunday, August 24, 2008

It takes 118 points, but Team USA downs Spain to reclaim Gold

Congrats to Team USA, which won every quarter of the Gold Medal game against Spain today, winning 118-107. Some notes from the game:

D. Wade was off the charts in the first quarter. T. Prince also played well all the way around, but especially on offense in the middle vs. Spain's zone defense. [Spain went to the zone with 3:09 in the first quarter.]

The officials called a tight game with LeBron and Kobe picking up two quick fouls.

Both teams came out scoring; there was a general lack of defensive intensity other than D. Wade who played sensational defense in the 1Q.

I thought Spain did a good job on the high-low pass with big-to-big passing. In addition, Navarro did a good job of getting to the line for Spain with five FTA in the first quarter.

Kobe had a lot of energy in the second period. Team USA had great defensive anticipation, jumping in the passing lane and making Spain pay for sloppy, soft passes.

Spain's lack of speed and quickness in transition hurt Spain on steals.

At one point, the U.S. was 8-11 from 3-point range.

Spain was effective offensively on pick-and-rolls as Team USA was slow on its rotations.

After playing zone in the first quarter, Spain mostly played man to man in the 2Q.

Team USA and Spain scored 31 and 30 points in the second quarter, respectively, but slowed down in the third, as the Americans put in 22 in the third, one more than Spain.

As we've seen him do before, Kobe scored big down the stretch, putting in 13 points in the fourth quarter to lead the U.S.

Spain did a good job on the direct inbound pass on side out of bounds and was solid on the backboards. But Kobe and Wade were too much.

After struggling in Beijing from 3-point range, the Americans' long-range shooting was a big reason for their win today. They also did a great job of getting to the foul line, getting 37 FTA in a 40-minute game is pretty remarkable.

In particular, C. Paul did a nice job of attacking off the dribble, resulting in 10 FTA.

Both teams shot a high percentage from the field and Spain was excellent from the FT line, connecting on better than 80 percent.

P. Gasol (21 pts), Fernandez (22 pts), and Navarro (18) all had big games for Spain. And 17-year-old Ricky Rubio (6 rebs, 3 ast) is really fun to watch. He's a young, exciting point guard who can handle and is unselfish, though he lost his composure late in the game.