3-Pointers, U.S. Can’t Stop Shooting ‘em

LONDON – It spread like a Kardashian rumor on Twitter Thursday night, the U.S. Senior Men’s National Team’s fancy for the 3-point shot. One Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant got it started against Nigeria, Carmelo Anthony took it to the next level and everyone else followed.

By the time they were finished, they’d taken 46 of them, made 29 and set a few records on their way to a mind-boggling 83-point blowout of Nigeria.

U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski said afterwards that he hoped his team saved a few more for the rest of the Olympic competition. His words proved prophetic here earlier today, when the U.S. almost shot their way into a stunning upset to Lithuania, a team that dared the U.S. to shoot their way to another big win relying on outside shots for the bulk of their points.

They survived on a diet plate this time, making just 10 of the 33 they hoisted, two of the makes being clutch shots from both LeBron James and Deron Williams, when Chris Paul found him wide open with a mid-air touch pass, in the final four minutes of their 99-94 win.

“We had a lot of good looks,” Paul said. “A lot of those shots went in and out. One thing Coach [Krzyzewski] told us is to keep shooting your shots. And that’s what we have to do. And when I did get that offensive rebounds, D. Will knocked down a big one. With the amount of talent we have on our team we pass up a ton of good shots. So are some times when you just have to shoot the ball.”

They played a dangerous game, though, one that only a group of the very best players could and get away with on a night when their free throw shooting (19-for-31) is as deplorable, relatively speaking.

But when you have every reason to believe that the next one you take is the one that will break a game open, it’s hard to resist that urge. When your Hall of Fame coach is demanding that you keep shooting “your shots,” it’s your professional obligation to keep shooting them.

“When you miss a couple of them, you start thinking, “I’m just gonna pass it,'”Williams said. “But coach stayed on us. He got a little pissed off that we were passing up shots. So you just have to be ready to shoot them.”

But not at the expense of higher percentage shots closer to the basket. They pulled away late with James driving to the basket and forcing the action, by going inside to at least initiate whatever it was they wanted to do. But far too often they settled for what least appeared to be open shots.

“We want to get it inside, too,” Williams said. “But we had wide open shots on the perimeter. You’ve got to take them. Three feet closer than the NBA 3 [point line]. They looked good, they felt good. They just weren’t going in.”

James said he has no problem with his teammates taking those shots, even if it did appear to be detrimental to the U.S Team’s cause in this particular instance.

“A lot of teams pack the paint,” he said. “We have a lot of dribble penetration guys that get into the paint and we also have some great shooters as well. So when we get into the lane and kick out for shots, it’s a mid-range jumper for a lot of our guys. And we want them to step up and shoot them. No matter what’s going, we want them to step up and shoot them.”

Just not at the expense of getting the win.

“We want to have a little bit of balance, too,” he said. “That’s where me and [Russell] Westbrook come into play. We’re kind of the penetrating guys on this team who want to get into the lane. But we have great shooters, and we can’t tell them don’t take shots when they are open.”

34 Comments

  1. dondonscreek0102 says:

    so what if they are taking so many 3s? weren’t they getting the Ws? its one of the agendas on how this team was built on anyway. only 2 players of the lineup is not a long distance shooter. so whats the fuss.

  2. John says:

    They’re shooting a higher proportion of threes than they would in the NBA, but that’s not unusual considering the closer 3-point line and all of the zone defense. Against Argentina, they shot 51% from 2-point range and 51% from 3-point range, which indicates that their 3-point shooting is highly effective and deserves at least as much reliance, if not more, than it’s currently getting. Also, they have at least two great 3-point shooters at every position short of center; while they have minimal poor-shooting slashers and low-post players like Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, Blake Griffin, Dwight Howard, and Andrew Bynum. If they wanted to the rim better, then perhaps they should incorporate players like JaVale McGee and Andrew Bynum in their roster, and perhaps they should give more minutes to the bigs they have like Tyson Chandler and… Tyson Chandler.

  3. They couldn’t do it the next game. They only won by 6 points and it was hard fought too. They will win the gold, but they are not better than the “92 Dream Team” regardless of how many points or records were broken against Nigeria.

    • dondonscreek0102 says:

      i’m sick and tired of the comparison. I like the original one too but let’s face it. shouldn’t we be just grateful that these bunch of superstars willingly collaborated to give us a show as well?

  4. Johnross says:

    Let the shooters shoot and the drivers drive. When the drivers start jacking up 3’s that when it becomes a lower percentage shot. Guys like KD can shoot that 100 times a game and I wouldnt mind in the least.

  5. Law064 says:

    They shoot a lot of 3’s simply because of the Zone D. The D is packed in so of course it will leave the 3 point shot open. They are pro’s so I would think they are confident shooting the open shots. When opponents play 2-3 zone they are trying to protect the baskets, so the outside shots are available. I guess they firgure that the US will have to beat them by shooting the open shots. Tough game today coming up but I have faith that US will walk away with the W. USA USA USA !!!!!!

  6. LAKERSLAND... says:

    thats a dumb question man, knowing the game itself involve shooting 3s right, so whats the point of not taking the damn shots WHEN U ARE OPEN, and all these players could knock the 3s stop actin like u dnt see them knock don shot in the regular season, and ya media’s just be looking for a topics to talk about, especially knowing the USA are ballin and undefeated, why dont u guys just take in n shut ya mouth n give respect, THEY ARE PLAYING GOOD BASKETBALL, just give respect…..n wait for the season…LAKERSAaalllLDDAYYYY..

  7. Paul Reynaldo says:

    all they need is RHYTHM, they need to get their game goin, if they throw 3’s its their game, what if they throw dunks all game, media would blame them, AGAIN..

  8. Clipzzz says:

    Yes, Anthony Davis should be playing more. Im sure hes capable of keeping up with the flow of the game. You can see his talents but its usually after blowouts. He should be playing in different situations. They need that other big man to defend the rim. Other teams have been getting easy layups.

  9. RL says:

    The international 3 is smaller causing the paint to be packed. To the US itz just mid-range jumpers as compared to the NBA game. It is of course a big advantage to team USA & coach-k knows how to make use of this advantage

  10. mr-plow says:

    zone def=more 3 attempts

  11. Rocabye says:

    The US shoots a lot of threes because they have a LOT of great shooters. They only have a couple guys that can live in the lane, mostly Westbrook and Lebron. Everyone else hits the jumpers or works in the post. They need to shoot jumpers with all that talent, it would just be stupid not to. As long as they get good looks, and keep Westbrook and Lebron truckin into traffic they should be fine.

  12. KJAMES says:

    balance yup thats wat bron meant..shooting 3s whilst driving to the basket…and the score wont be these close….but usa for gold 99.9%

  13. minime says:

    Last time I checked. The point of basketball is to get the ball through the basket and score as many points as possible, while at the same time stopping the other team.

    Let them score as many as they can… Geez!

  14. Carlo says:

    I want to see how anthony davis play the basketball. He doesn’t have that playing time to showcase his talents here. I want to see why he is the number one pick and why he is considered the best rookie you could have in the next 5 years.

  15. Steve Zorian says:

    WoW Amazing Team USA Beat Nigeria By 83 Points, Go Team USA You Will Be Taking The Gold Medallion Home Coming In First Place Take Care, Of Business Vs Argentina And Come Out With The Win.:)

  16. Joel says:

    After a record performance. The U.S team had a close one against Lithuania. Is it hard to believe that a team could give them a little competition? Lets not make a big deal over one game or two, They are going to take gold home.

  17. wole says:

    the us shoots too many three because they have no centre who can give instant or reliable offence and no power forward who can do the same down low, so its either long twos or threes, tyson chandlers offense is rudimentary and lebron or durant dont roll to the basket, that leaves jump shots, just hope the us can win this way as they almost lost against lithuania

    • pej says:

      They almost lost to Lituania. How come coach K and Colangelo did not consider adding more great power forwards and offensive centers. What we got are bunch of good shorties. In basketball, good TALL guys is better than good SHORT guys! Spain and Argentina with their Good TALL players COULD beat team USA next time around. In the NBA you have the Aldridge, Lee of Golden State, Green of Utah all power forwards/centers. What a lost of opportunity if US lost Olympic ring due to lack of size. Brace yourselves for possible disappointment.

    • elt says:

      wrong that doesnt make sense more than half the guys can penertrate to the basket to get easy points in the paint its not tysons fault its the other players being too lazy to go in for a easy two by just taking threes.

  18. Tim says:

    I wish Australia had Andrew Bogut and Kyrie Irving to go with Patty Mills. Could take down the USA with them.

  19. jeremiah says:

    its basketball,let them play…the international game n players r 10x better,then n 1992!!!!

    • Bball fan says:

      the 1992 Croatia team isn’t far from today’s international team (Spn, Arg, Fra etc) and original dream team was able to beat them by 32pts. IMO the original DREAM TEAM is just so much better than 2012 dream team.

  20. bar1kenoby says:

    I don’t think the problem is the 3pt shooting but the way that this 3pt shoots comes out. There’s no game anybody picks up and shoot from the 3pt line unless AD is on the floor that automatically translates in alley hoop attempt. I think the USA team is better than this but I don’t know why but they settle down for a mediocre style of basketball.

  21. CELTICS>>>LAKERS says:

    so what its basketball let them play and shoot as much as they want

  22. Yeah they shoot too many 3s but i can see why. the 3 point line is shorter than the nba 3, so of course they think they can hit them. I think they can hit them but when you aren’t hitting them give the ball to lebron, durant, iggy, or kobe and make them attack the basket.
    Win the gold!

  23. Mali says:

    This team also needs some inside scoring and D as well. Look for the team to go to Melo, Kobe and LBJ more in the next game and that also can open things up for out side shots. A Davis needs to play more, I don’t care if he’s a rookie or what. His quickness, D and rebounding is exactly what the team needs.

  24. Candyman says:

    The answer is no, they are not too reliant

  25. Roberto says:

    Above all Olympics in all sports are bussiness.

  26. Roberto says:

    To me it´s dissapointed to see amny teams with a lot of support and money and in the other side see south americans teams in the Olympics at any sport very very poor without any support. To me it is sad.

  27. Roberto says:

    Us can lose it´s a possibility. No matter if you lose or you win the most important thing is the sport spirit fair play. Roger today felt that.

  28. Keon R. says:

    I know the U.S. shoots too many 3’s but seeing as how the media keeps going on about how small the U.S. is doesn’t it make sense that they shoot a lot of perimeter shots? It’s an unreliable way of scoring, to be sure, but with the much closer international line it makes sense that the team is scoring in a way that most suits them. They need to be wiser with their shots and try to work inside out more but, perimeter shooting is their game. I don’t think you can separate them from this style of play. http://bit.ly/RFFFsN