U.S.: “Still Haven’t Shown Our Best”

LONDON — We’ve seen its flashes, those breathtaking bursts of fury the U.S. Men’s Senior National Team can unleash on the opposition.

Sometimes it comes in the form of the 3-point storm Carmelo Anthony helped unleash on Nigeria in pool play. Or sometimes, it is the one Kobe Bryant put on Australia in the quarterfinals or a LeBron James/Kevin Durant-induced knockout blow on either end of the floor, an occurrence in more than a couple of games here so far.

Yet, as good as they have been on their grind towards the medal round of this Olympic tournament, the scary part for Argentina, Spain and Russia is that the U.S. team hasn’t played their best. To a man, the U.S. Team is convinced that they haven’t come close to playing up to their immense potential.

“That’s the crazy part, man,” Durant said. “We have another level we can go to on both ends of the floor. We’ve shown it here and there. For us to sustain it throughout a whole game, though, we still haven’t seen that. The challenge is us trying to do it. We’ll get another crack at it against Argentina and we’ll see if we can do it.”

Doing it against their biggest rival of the past decade on the world’s biggest stage with a gold-medal game berth going to the winner makes chasing the “perfect” game even more intriguing for a U.S. Team that never needs extra motivation, especially with so many watching just to see if someone will upset them.

And make no mistake, for all the fans who love to watch the U.S. Team work, there are plenty of folks in London and beyond who want to see this team pushed to its limits. (As you might suspect, beating teams by an average of 38.7 points is not in the recipe for intrigue.)

That’s exactly what the U.S. players want to see as well.

“Definitely, definitely,” Deron Williams said. “We haven’t played well in the first halves of late. And then we’ve always given up a run of some sort, things that we need to stop and can stop from happening. So there is definitely another gear we can get up to, especially defensively.”

Whether they admit it or not, it has to be hard to push against the likes of Tunisia and Nigeria — teams incapable of mounting a significant challenge to a team filled with elite NBA talent. But for any of the three other remaining teams in the competition, they pose a legitimate threat to the U.S. Team’s gold medal plans.

“Everybody is focused, that’s not really a problem with us.” Williams said. “We just need to put a full 40 minutes of basketball together. We’ve got to put 40 minutes of pressure, focus and intensity. We’ve done it against some teams. But we need to do it against these better teams.”

Argentina would certainly qualify. But they’ve also experienced first hand the U.S. on a tear. They were within a point at halftime Monday night, only to have James and Durant combine to obliterate them in the third quarter.

“Sometimes it’s about us pushing ourselves and sometimes it’s about other teams waking us up,” Durant said. “We find ourselves down two or three points in the third or tied at the half or something and we have to tell ourselves that it’s time to turn it up. But if we start games off that way … we’re a problem.”

Those are the sort of problems Williams was talking about, the sort the U.S. needs to fuel their fire and the kind that will be needed this weekend to finish this job.

“We have to play just 40 minutes of the defense we know we;re capable of playing,” Kevin Love said. “And when that happens, that creates transition dunks, transition threes, layups, and all of the above. I think if that’s the case, and we’re all willing to do the dirty work on the defensive end, we’re only going to get better in these next two games.”

22 Comments

  1. Two Gasols? says:

    If Pau Gasol was trash last year what make you think he will be better going against the top players (USA TEAM)
    Mozgov gets own against teams like raptors and bobcats, and somehow he is gonna ball all over the USA Team? WTF.
    You say American’s are all talk but aren’t you doing the talking as well about Argentina? pathetic. I’m done.

  2. “Team USA will not win gold”, shut up man you´re insane!No ONE can stop USA,USA WILL DESTROY EVERYONE AND WIN THE GOLD!

  3. kerby says:

    USA basketball team gonna get the gold medal for this year though they’ll need to have an extra effort for the rest of their opponents..

  4. JC says:

    Hahaha..C’mon guys, the US Team is unbeatable! Though I was rooting for Lithuania last time, the fitness level of the Americans is unparalleled. They play the 4th quarter like it’s the 1st. Also, they sure are mentally tough. I think the US Team thrives in close games. They need that. It is what brings out the best in them.

  5. tom says:

    slow people will be no problem . usa 3s will rain . get used to it .

  6. Tobz says:

    U.S.A can be beaten, many teams have actually lead America on the scoreboard up until the 4th quarter. The 4th quarter is where many countries have to be wary of. It’s when the US is at their best. They are an extremely fit team, and if you can’t keep up with ‘em you’re going to lose. Australia is a pretty good team, and were up with America on the scoreboard a number of times. But they showed large signs of fatigue going into the 4th quarter, and they got blown out in the end.

    I believe Russia or Spain can beat the U.S. The final will be determined largely on persistence by America’s opponent.

  7. Bok says:

    I have to agree with GHill at some point. That no team is unbeatable. USA’s lack of height and muscle inside is a well known weakness since day 1. But their collective efforts is yielding results and hopefully (as a USA Basketball Team Fan) they will be more consistent (especially on rebounding and swarming defense – their offense is already a gift). To you who said that the gold medal game is actually Russia Vs. Spain, is actually a joke and an insult to the other teams who worked hard to get this far. As a USA fan, the gold medal game is still up for grabs, there’s NO guarantee that USA or any of them is guaranteed champs.

  8. baller9 says:

    i think USA will win.. but it would be earn, not a blow by.. though im rooting for Spain, USA would pull it out.. scary part, the best of USA team is yet to come.. look at the stats.

  9. jll says:

    One on one is the answer for tomorrow.Melo.

  10. TEAM USA WILL NOT WIN GOLD! says:

    Look at more silly talk from Americans.

    Oh wow. Team USA beat Australia. Australia not strong team and Americans celebrate like they are already champions.

    REAL GOLD MEDAL GAME is between Russia vs. Spain. Winner of Russia vs. Spain EASILY wins GOLD MEDAL game against Argentina (because USA will lose to the ARgentina team)

    Nobody says how team USA/team luck shot 3 pointer will stop Pick and Roll plays or BIG MAN like Mozgov or Gasols brothers. Thats why they will not wins gold medal.

    • u serious? says:

      u must be dreaming right?…

    • HEM says:

      Hmmm except that they already have proved they can beat the Gasol brothers and Argentina and have the best bball players in the world on their team – im having trouble seeing how they wont win gold

    • GHill says:

      Talk is cheap…anyone who has ever played sports or watched sports will know that. You can talk all you want but if you don’t bring it, anything can happen. I am not saying that Argentina can’t beat usa but its gonna take on hell of a perfect game from the argentinians and combine that with one hell of a poor game from usa! No one is inbeatable….so talk all you want now…at the end of the day its not you or i or anyone else who determines who wins…its the players out there….thats why we watch and support our teams right?

      • Curious... says:

        That’s a verry sensible reply, GHill, very true also. I like the emotional replies as well though; everybody seems to know best! I believe what those NBA elite players above stated is true; whe haven’t seen them play a perfect 40 minutes yet and I’m anxious to see what kind of damage the can do when they are in a 40-minute-zone! Whoever plays Team USA when that happens is only there to bring up the ball so USA can steal it back, block their shots or rebound desperate attempts and storm back the other way!

      • zgillet says:

        The problem with beating the US is that they literally have 2 full teams that are better than any other team at the Olympics. So, in order to beat them, Argentina would have to play out of their minds while the US’s TWO teams have to play poorly.

    • Ryan says:

      Hahahahahahahahahaha…….wait I’m not done yet.

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

      Okay, now what I was going to say was, do YOU REALLY think these teams can beat a team when Kobe, Lebron, Durant and Carmelo really put it to these teams? Your talking about the best players in the game. These guys score in their sleep, Kobe even said so the other day thats what he can do. Only think you have is height for Spain. Even then being a Lakers fan, Pau Gasol is weak. He has been for the past 2 seasons. Marc Gasol provides a presence but he isnt a offensive or defensive threat he just has height. Being an American, we really are not rude, stuck up individuals. Our government comes off like that not us, so when we see you people from another country try to downtalk us, it shows your ignorant and only believe what others tell you. Come live in the United States, were not as bad as you think. Just saying.

    • Funny says:

      Oh wow, Team USA beat Australia?

      Australia is ranked 9th on the FIBA international rankings, ahead of Russia, France and Brazil so saying that beating them is not impressive is a foolish statment. Even if they would have Andrew Bogut they still wouldn’t even contest against the USA in the slightest. I know rankings don’t mean much, but they are certaintly better than people think…The did beat Russia and came close to beat Spain, have to give them credit where credit is due.

      The winner of Russia and Spain will not have an automatic gold medel in their pocket even if USA were to win. Russia has a great team, but I like my chances with Chandler and Love guarding against Mozgov anyday. No one even mentions his name in the NBA and now people are saying how dominant he is internationally. Great player, length and height, but Love and Chandler I think can distract him no problem. Same can be said against Spain….Who the USA blew out last time they met…..Just sayin.

    • Mozgov? says:

      You’re kidding right? Gasol brothers are a potential threat. But really? MOZGOV? Also, should I remind you of what the US team consists of? Even with all the injuries? Jesus.

      • Mark says:

        I am with the guy above. Are you really trying to tell me that a guy that only plays 15.6 minutes a game, scores 5.4 whole points, and grab a whopping 4.1 rebounds while playing for Denver is really going to give the USA team any trouble???????

        Man you are either on something or asleep and having a dream. I watched most of the Lakers/Nuggets series in the playoffs and that guy was almost a total non-factor. True the Lakers did have Andrew and Pau to play him but I am quite certain Tyson and Kevin will be able to handle anything Mozgov can throw at them. Sheesh what a joke of a comment!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • r e g g i e says:

      enjoy life and don’t be to ambitious..don’t be so critical, you’re living in a wrong world. good luck and God bless.