U.S. Focused On Faults Or Facts?

LONDON – LeBron James probably can’t remember the last time he walked off of the court after a 29-point thrashing of a quality opponent and had to answer questions about why the game was so close during the first 20 minutes and if his team is defending well enough to win it all.

Well, then again, before he led the Miami Heat to a Larry O’Brien trophy, he probably fielded questions of that sort on a regular basis.

But with the U.S. Men’s Senior National Team an overwhelming favorite by most to capture the gold medal here at the Olympics and the world wondering if anyone, or anything, can stop them, the U.S. Team’s “flaws” have become a hotter topic than any of the facts surrounding this group.

Aside from that 99-94 win over Lithuania, the U.S. basically demolished the competition in their five games of pool play. The U.S averaged 117.8 points in those five games, the all-time U.S. Olympic record belonging to the original Dream Team (117.3). A staggering 77 made 3-pointers and a 46 percent shooting stroke should impress anyone, but not the critics of this team, who suggest that maybe the U.S. shoots too many.

If this is the basketball world’s way of doing its duty and trying to keep the U.S. humble, they’re wasting their time. James and his teammates already understand their own hoops mortality. They realize that a subpart performance against Australia Wednesday in the quarterfinals means an early trip home, the same fate for any team that doesn’t show up focused and ready for the elimination round.

“We’re very beatable.  We don’t feel unbeatable,” he said. “We’ve just got to continue to get better, continue to work our habits, both offensively and defensively. But every team is beatable in this tournament and we know that as well.”

Whatever defensive deficiencies were exposed in the first half against Lithuania and even Argentina, they are at least correctable. The fact is, no other team in this competition will magically produce five NBA All-Stars that can come off of their bench and help turn games upside down.

James has served as the catalyst for the U.S. after halftime of both of those games. And he didn’t need any prompting from U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski or anyone else. Both Lithuania and Argentina had success forcing the U.S. into a pace and tempo that suited their styles more than the breakneck pace on both ends that the U.S. seems to prefer.

“It wasn’t like we had a different focus,” James said. “We knew defensively in the first half we didn’t play to our capabilities.  We allowed them to get a lot of open shots, a lot of open looks, a lot of layups and that’s not how we play the game of basketball defensively.   We came out with a sense of urgency in the third quarter to step it up defensively, play more solid and not gamble as much.  And, then execute a little bit more on the offensive end.”

It helps to have game changers like James, Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony to erase some of those early mistakes with abilities that no one else in the field posses.

Yet that’s not enough to completely ease those fears about the U.S. being vulnerable if they don’t start the game with the proper focus.

“Yeah, it’s a little concern,” Durant said of the uneven starts. “We always do a good job of bouncing back. Our defense in the second half was great.  We were swarming, getting deflections, steals, getting out and getting easy points.  If we do that, we’re a problem. But we found out that we can be beat if we don’t come out and play the way we’re supposed to play. We’ve got to always turn it on. We can’t try to turn it on in the third quarter. From the beginning of the game, we got to be focused and ready. It was a good lesson for us, especially that Lithuania game.”

The U.S. learned plenty about the competition in pool play, but they also learned a few important things about themselves and what it is they will need to do take care of their business in the medal round with Australia as the first hurdle.

“We definitely are ready,” Kevin Love said. “We know it’s one and done now. We know where we want to be on August 12 and that’s in the gold medal game at 3:00. We want to be standing at the top of the podium at the end of the game. We know what it’s going to take and we need to play like we did in the second half [against Argentina].”

58 Comments

  1. Ggg says:

    USA forever

  2. dealuser says:

    the original dream team is the best .

  3. Cuppa Joe says:

    I would love to see an exhibition game where team USA take on an All-Star team of players from around the world. That roster would probably consist an players already in the NBA, but it would be more amusing than the Olympics when you already know who the dominant team is. Just a thought.

  4. Rocketman says:

    It is possible that they could lose but they won’t.No they are not 92 dream team but still better then the rest of the world.They don’t have the skills of players of 92 or 96 though!

    • Nate says:

      If any 2 of these players, Howard, Bosh, or Aldridge weren’t hurt and made the team instead of Harden, Iguodala, or Williams, this USA team would be a lot better. Right now they’re biggest weakness is too many guards and not enough size. They basically just have Chandler and Love, as their bigs. On another forum, it was shown that statistically the US team does way better whenever a big was on the floor and not as well when they go small, so imagine if they had at least 2 other bigs in the rotation.

  5. team USA says:

    LeBron, durant, paul, all of the guys are gonna bring home the gold the only thing that disturbs me though no offence to kobe one of the greatest to play the game but why was he tryna play hero ball on a team that talented a lot of one on one plays that he needed 10 shots for 10 points come on kobe take a page out of durants book and lebron and the rest of the guys share the ball and you get easier shots man sometimes melo is guilty of this as well but on this team man we will kill anyone without iso basketball. but apart from that were all good

  6. weak says:

    i cannot understand why Kobe is the picture for this article. is it just COINCIDENCE that the title is “we’re very beatable” and kobe is on the picture. or maybe sekou is insinuating something. hhmmm. kobe was not even interviewed in this.

  7. Fembot says:

    i thought the 23 and under rule was only for usa…or no?

  8. Ace says:

    @Scottie, not sure on this but my guess would be because Spain beat Australia, maybe they look at the head-to-head when the points are even instead of the points differential. That’s the only reason I can think of. Makes no difference, because the Boomers would have to play USA sooner or later and they won’t win. I’m an Australian and I wish I was wrong about this, but it doesn’t matter if they get knocked out this round or next. Australia isn’t close to being in the top three teams in men’s basketball so they might as well get knocked out now rather than delaying the inevitable. Only the Opals have a legitmate shot at winning a medal.

  9. Pat says:

    Too much whining because USA Basketball is winning?

  10. JL says:

    I think Westbrook is playing horribly in the Olympics. He just shoots the ball with a lot of shot clock left, runs to the basket with no control, just full speed ahead, and throws 3′s with no sense. I’m the only one who sees this? I think that coach Nick from bballbreakdown shows how bad Westbrook is playing.

  11. Pedro says:

    No under 23 rule, we wanna know who’s the best team regardlles of any criteria.

  12. Max says:

    big deal!! usa population: 304 millions; Lithuania population:3.4 millions! lots of credit for these guys

  13. sherrie says:

    maybe aside from age, the olympic committee or fiba should put a ceiling on the average height of the teams too, that will be the best equalizer, it will be about talent, skills and team play, no longer just about height. I’m saying this because the Philippines’ best finish in international basketball was in the 1954 world championships, third place after US and Brazil. I think, more than anything else, the reason is the size difference.

    • Iceberg Wallst says:

      ha ha ha

    • jbmony says:

      Sherrie,,,you MUST BE A WOMAN because that’s the only way you can escape criticism for having the gall to post something that ridiculous….Ok let’s put in a height limitation just so the Phillipines can play….the US will send Calvin Murphy, Spud Webb, Muggsy Bogues, Robert Pack, Nate Robinson, Kevin Johnson, Nate Archibald….see where I’m going with this? All these guys competed in the NBA in spite of their HEIGHT (some were barely 6ft) and some of them EXCELLED!!!! So your argument holds no water at all…The competition of the NBA caused these guys to RAISE THEIR LEVEL OF PLAY AND THEY DID NOT CONSIDER THEIR HEIGHT A DETRIMENT…..STOP LETTING WOMEN COMMENT ON THIS PAGE!!!!

  14. Dave Krapels says:

    How can anyone be negative about Team USA? They are so much better than all the rest. They are breaking records and still they are being criticised. If they score too few points, they are ‘flawed’, if they score too many, the discussion arises that it’s an unfair competition and a max age should be applied. Fact is that Durant, James, Kobe and all the rest have been devoting their lives fully to basketball and that’s how gold medals, in any olympic sports

    • milesfan says:

      the negativity comes from people not wanting to embrace this team because they are predominately black, and sadly this is coming from mostly US citizens and media not from international fans and media

  15. Scottie says:

    Something I don’t understand: Australia finished level on points with Spain but with a better points difference (+37 over Spain’s +20) so why haven’t they finished in 3rd place rather than 4th?

    The big problem this has caused is that Australia now plays the US in the quarter finals and we all know they are going to get flogged. Basically they now have no chance of winning a medal when in reality they should be playing France who they may actually have a chance of beating and then moving on to the next round.

  16. Joram says:

    This is ridicolous, people! Seriously. This entire debate just goes to show that people always want to find something negative to focus on. I’m from the small fairy tale kingdom of Denmark and what you (read: U.S.A) have with this team is a fairy tale team – or a Dream Team if you will.

    They are doing absolutely brilliant and nobody can stop them. 10 of 12 players – maybe even 11 – have the ability to go of on almost any given night and drop +40 points. You can’t stop that. So if LeBron comes up empty one night you go with Melo. If he doesn’t play up to par you go with KD. Or CP3. Or Westbrook. You get the point. This team is close to untouchable. Which would also be the case if you sent the entire current line-up back home and had the “second best2 flewn over. No competition. All the other teams have shown weakness during their group games except the US – with the possible exception of that Lithuania game.

    I don’t really root for Team US. But not really for any of the others. This far in the tournament I just want to see the US players play as many games as possible because they are by far the most entertaining team to watch. What fun it is to see LeBron, KD, Davis, Westbrook, Melo and the rest of them just go crazy with high flying plays and record breaking shooting and all the other things the have been spoiling us with. So right now I’m a USA fan. Simply because that translates into being a hoops fan at this point. And until somebody shows us different its’s the right team cruising for a gold medal. Good luck to the rest of the lot – though they will need more than luck to stand any chance at all.

    Sorry for any misspellings etc. and remember to enjoy the rest of the journey towards that gold medal.

    • jbmony says:

      JORAM…great comments man, and not because I’m from the US..it’s your insightfulness on the issue and you not being a US fan but a BASKETBALL FAN…being from another country, you show no shame or bias in your rooting interests…most non-USA residents show their despise for our country within the first sentence, so after that , you can’t take them serious. The Lithuania game not-withstanding, is the closest that you will get to a nail-biter during the rest of this run by Team USA….I would LOVE to see ARGENTINA ONE MORE TIME, but in looking at how they were dispatched and just the look on them after the 3rd period showed me that it will be awhile before they rise again….they just looked old and they have no new blood coming soon and I think now the US knows their gameplan….they muck up the game and get under your skin with a lot of questionable tactics that border on brawling and they hope to just stay close…That’s Euro-ball for you and that’s not even entertaining….I personally like the way Russia and Lithuania play ,outside of the US of course…they have a nice free flowing , artistic game which is better than the Spanish speaking countries style of play like Brazil(portuguese) Argentina and Spain..nobody else but their countrymen like that wrestling , fouling and flopping game…
      Keep on watching and being entertained Joram!!!

  17. michael says:

    kobe looks old ;(

    • scott the magician says:

      Hes literally not trying, for some reason…….??
      although he is by far the oldest!!

      • ChampionsDontLeaveTown says:

        I suspect Kobe is resting his old bones for his last run at “SIX”…heck…he’s had so many players ride his coattails to 5 NBA championships, its about time he got a free ride for a second gold medal!! LOL

  18. BoomersRule says:

    Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi! Come on boomers, we are the dream team’s worst nightmare!

  19. Norma says:

    Lebron speaks the truth. They need to play much harder to win than the Jordan’s dream team.

    It is mainly Krzyzewski ‘s fault, with team with that much talent, most NBA/Euro coaches would get the gold with half strength.

    • Nate says:

      Yeah, but remember that basketball is a team sport and you need chemistry. Every other country had more time to play together and practice before the Olympics started. The USA had the least amount of time to put a team together. Even though they have the most talent, we know that talent can only take you so far, at the end it’s a team game. I’m pretty sure if the USA had more time to build chemistry between each other, they’ll probably dominate more in the Olympics.

      • jbmony says:

        Nate….great point…also throw in the fact that the USA had alot of injuries to sift through while trying to put together a roster on short notice…Blake Griffin went out only 2 weeks before the friendlies started and they had to have emergency tryouts to replace him. People really don’t understand the importance of CHEMISTRY when building a team. For example, Amare Stoudamire is more talented than Tyson Chandler but he’s not a good lockerroom guy. DeMarcuse Cousins is a beast, when he wants to play, and that’s the problem. He would’ve been on the team instead of Anthony Davis if he showed maturity (Colangelo actually said that he needs to grow up). So although the injury bug depleted the big man pool, Coach K and Colangelo went with guys who shared a certain CHEMISTRY with one another…and if they had more time together, like the foreign teams, they would really be putting a show on. Those Euro League seasons(and other foreign leagues) finished way earlier than the NBA finals so those guys had plenty of time to develop chemistry and their rosters didn’t have much turnover like the US did…

  20. Pgulinp says:

    hmm not from usa but i must say… your team have 3 hall of famers right now- Lebron, Kobe and Durant, and without them i don’t belive that you could win OI … rest of roster are good players but not so amazing and game changers like this 3 guys, we all now that westbrook and anthony would take over this team without 3 biggest superstar and would shoot like 50 shoots and they would probably lose … every time when big 3 is on bach your team look average , don’t get me wrong players like Cp3 are simply crazy good but rest of roster…. tooo many shot lovers… and when i watch your team i just don’ t understand one thing- how da f deron willims become superstar ??? avergae player, he make some total retarded moves for your team, and he is bit above average pg in nba for 1 reason he ca’t make his team better, and that’s what pg is all about, look at best pg of our time in last 15 years, all of them made 1 average player from team superstar or allstar- kidd made Kenyon martin, Nash made Amare ( he created 90% of his points ) cp3 made Griffin ( he can only jump and dunk , can’t hit from any kind of range, can’t play with his back against basket , and he don’t play good D .. and free trows dude with 2 airballs from free trows in a row just wtf how do you become a all star with that ? ) and deron did nothing in nets last season… i could say Rondo but rondo didn’t made KG looks good, Kg was freaking beast before rondo and boston…

    To be honest in Europe there is way too many usa average players so young players don’t have space to become a superstars or amazing players. and in Eurolige game speed is different , coach is a only star in team, ucan’t shoot 30 shots per game , it’s all a about D, and whole cort is a bit shorter then nba. and in Eurolige u can’t travel or made double of even triple steps like in nba. My old trainer once said : nba is all about showtime and Eurolige is all about team and that’s true. when Cska or Panatinakos win Eurolige we only talk about the team, when Miami won championship you guys only talk about LBJ , like he is only reason why they win, last time I chacked Lebron lost finals agains spurs for one reason- he didn’t have a team for win all.

    sry if i spell somthing wrong, eanglish is not my language , random fan from Europe

    • jbmony says:

      Pgulinp…first of all , knowing that you’re not from the USA is apparent in the way that you state certain things, I know that you show pride from whatever country you’re from but be realistic…Deron Williams would start on the team where you come from even 10 years after he retired….Look , the USA is undersized if you hadn’t noticed, so their game has to be structured to take advantage of that size differential which is their speed and quickness and overall athleticism…Sure they take alot of shots but they make alot of them also. Imagine if they had the big men on this team that were injured. They still would have the core of Durant,LBJ, Carmelo, KLove,…add Wade along with DRose and probably Westbrook..Do you see where I’m going with this? This lineup is not as imposing size-wise but other teams still have to come up with a plan to stop Durant,Kobe,LeBron, Carmelo and CP3….Your Euro-league quote is very funny also…If so-called average USA players can keep your young up and coming Euro boys on the bench in their own country,what does that say about your Euro talent level??? Your Euro League coaches are the stars and don’t allow 30 attempts from one single player?? That points out the stubborness of your Euro coaches trying to control games instead of letting your guys flourish…..The NBA is only about showtime?? That comment came from your coach?? The Euro League is about team?? Well, how about the Euro League Champs play against the flashy,showtime NBA champs?? People from these foreign countries love to bash the NBA , but they love to play in it…It should tell you something that not many foreign players can fill out an NBA roster the way the AVERAGE TALENT , MARGINAL USA PLAYER can STAR in your EURO LEAGUE….

      • Max says:

        And if you have brains, you`ll know that usa alone as more basketball players than all Europe! It is about money: in Europe our yongsters dream of a college degree and a good position in a corporation, in us, most go to college because of sports!

  21. Realisit says:

    Australia will win by about 32, would have been more but they let their bench take care of the entire 4th quarter.

  22. Celts4Life says:

    what Nick says is true even if the 23 under rule happens the US will still have more talent than every other country combined, Anthony Davis, Kyrie Irving and other guys like Tyreke Evans and Black Griffin and can all be on the team, there still wont be any competition. Also all other international teams depend on older players like the Gaosl brothers and Serge Ibaka and Ginoboli and Nene and Varajoa and Turiaf and parker and Batum and Dirk and Kaman and Kirirlenko. All these guys would be too OLD to play in the olympics and this is a loot of nba talent who cant represent their countries.

  23. Kane says:

    Kobe is way to busy with the Aussie female swimmers than playing ball!!

  24. awarde says:

    US Men’s team is playing sloppy ball. It feels almost “like it’s miller time, let’s hangout on the court fellas”, Men’s basketball was probably the most disappointing thing for me in the Olympics this year. I think the Olympic committee made their case for under 23 participating with Men”s basketball. The same players go all the time. We in the US have always played better ball than anybody in the world. So we are expected to go over and win the gold(not so sure about that now). A team of young top Olympiads out of top dolleges would be fun to watch and would fullfil a many a lifetime dream. Bring on the under 23 year old for Olympic, because At least the fans would be on the edge of their seats because it truly would be an equal matchup.

    • Nick says:

      So lets just say, for one minute, the rule this year was 23 and under. That would mean Davis, Durant, Westbrook, Harden, and I think Kevin love though I am not sure about him, would all be on the team still. Barring injury Kyrie Irving, John Wall, Tristan thompson, Demarcus Cousins, and several other great players would still be in the olympics. Not to mention young defensive stoppers like Ekpe Udoh and Iman Shumpert. Most teams outside of the US actually field very veteran teams because the quality outside of the rare people like Manu, Parker, Dirk, and a couple other just doesnt match up. The big names on foreign teams outside of those few are people like Scola, who a Demarcus or A davis could tangle with. Really, putting the 23 and under rule would probably make it less competitive, simply because of the number of quality players coming out of the US compared ot any individual country elsewhere. Name one country who could have an all 23 and under team, and beat even the players I listed here off the top of my head, not to mention the poeple i havent thought of. At this point it just is what it is

      • big poppy says:

        that is exactly true and the funny thing is scola is old too, he came in the nba as a old rookie he was like 27 or 28 so take him outta there, and also the gasol bros wont be pplaying or jose just ricky so that would really kill the spain team,

      • cefri anthony says:

        i believe dermar cousins is a Fil-Am. Hope to see him play for the Philippines someday, so that we can have a big stalwart. Perhaps, Greg Oden also would consider donning the Philippine flag, as well as Nate Robinson. Filipinos have talent but unfortunately we don’t have the height.

      • jarrod whelan says:

        very good point the only way to a close game is all age so like country’s with old more better players like dirk and manu can play otherwise those countrys wont have a chance and US will be able to produce some of the best players in the nba who are still very young make a unfair advantage but i’m from Australia so i’m rooting them but you make a good point

      • ericky says:

        you may be right that no other country has so physically skilled players like us, even under 23. However, the results in basketball is 100%based on physical ability. I would say Serbia, Lithuania, Turkey, Spain would have better teams than US under 23. Not better players, but better teams. In Europe, we learn how to play the game together, how to dictate the pace, how to control the game, and how to make the ball move. You dont necessarily need physical and athletic abilities.
        Basketball players in Europe learn how to play basketball, and not how to jump. They are fundamentally better than US players on that age, not physically. but European players understand the game more, they are professional players with 23, whereas in US only some are professional at that age.
        I also watch NBA because of its show factor, however the international basketball is different, you need to be a team.
        With younger teams, US does not have all the best experience, at home in 2002, or in Athens in 2004.
        The quality of the game will be less, and it wont attract so many people, so in basketball I am against that under 23 rule.
        However, it would be a bit ignorant to automatically say, that US has the better players at every age…

      • Jones17 says:

        Well said fella. I think the USA under 23′s would probably beat the rest of the world anyway even if they were allowed any age.

      • Jack says:

        United States of Europe

      • Andrew says:

        There are a lot of young Aussies in US colleges on basketball scholarships, I for one would love to see the under 23 become a reality.

      • Canuck says:

        Sorry but you may want to look up Tristan Thompson’s bio. He is a Canadian.

      • phillip says:

        umm wheres my comment from earlier, which was completely relevant ????

      • manny says:

        it realy does not matter if USA would still benefit from the 23 and under rule. We want to see the best in all sports compete. Just take a look at other events woult it be fair if the soccer spain club that dominated soccer for the last 8 years. How about Usein Bot at a 100m and Michael phelps. I think that seeing the athlets continuing dominating the sports for years is what makes the olympics so entertaining to watch because you get to see how trully gifted this human realy are. Kobe, Phelps , Bolt and many others athlets who remail at the top for years

      • jbmony says:

        Nick…..that should shut up the rest of the ppl with the mindset of AWARDE….he’s not a true bball fan just by his comment….Do you know that the USA’s U-17,U-19 and U-21 teams(and probably more of the under teams) ALL won gold? And you want to have them play against other countries 23 year olds?? Go do some homework AWARDE before you comment. Jerry Colangelo has changed the entire mindset of USA bball for the better.

    • manny says:

      if you watch the dream team and even 2012 team you will notice that they rase the tv rating of the basketball games. i am glad that Team USA can put some points on the board. its hard to watch some of this olympics games where teams score under 70 points per game. we like this superstars because they win games in an entertainiing style. Other countries relly on veteran NBA players to do well. The europe league is gaining popularity and in no time they will produce allot of players at the level of the NBA allstar If you dont like the way the USA plays you can skip their games and watch some nigeria vs tunisia game lol or rewind some europe league games.

    • Nate says:

      The reason why they changed from College to Pros going to the Olympics is to have the best players go represent the USA. That’s what the Olympics is about anyways, the best athletes in that particular sports to represent their country. I don’t know about you, but I tune into the Olympics to watch the best players play, not to see if the competition is equal.

    • Burak says:

      Actually, having NBA players in USA team is unfair for other nations and there is a very fair explanation for it. In NBA, players can use all the steroids and power amplifiers, otherwise how can you explain to have a powerful player like L.James or D.Howard? All these stuff is prohibited in FIBA world. Players must get in doping tests after every match in Europe. Now, in olympics you guys are coming with 12 players from NBA who use all kind of steroids to pump up their muscles during season then play against other nations who are not even allowed to see these kind of stuff in their life. Of course, physical and athletic advantage makes huge difference in basketball. But, again fundementally all the European basketball players are better than US ones which will give Europeans a chance to beat USA in a equal environment.
      As a conclusion, if US attends to olympics with a squad who dont have any illegal drugs in their blood before the tournament, then competition will be more fun and equal for all nations.

      • Celtics! says:

        ur an idiot. players are not allowed to use steroids in nba.

      • jbmony says:

        Burak…ARE YOU SERIOUS!!!! I know your hatred for the US blocks your sensibilities but to go as far as saying that the US players are pumped full of steroids is one of the DUMBEST COMMENTS OF THE CENTURY….ALL PARTICIPANTS IN THE OLYMPICS ARE TESTED DUMMY!! You ever look at Kevin Durant??? In what country would he be considered BULKED-UP???? I know that there is always going to be ANTI-AMERICAN SENTIMENT OUT THERE but that comment TAKES THE CAKE.
        Maybe if your government wouldn’t spend your country’s wealth on building nuclear facilties, your people would benefit by EATING MORE THAN ONCE A MONTH WHICH WOULD ALLOW THEM TO BULK UP.
        Burak, in closing , I would like for you to share where you’re from (I’m from the USA) so that we could discuss the reasons for your STUPID COMMENTS.

  25. Davi says:

    Brazil will get the Gold, forever.