Coming off a so-so performance against Brazil on Monday, Team U.S.A. took advantage of a weak Great Britain team on Thursday. Team U.S.A. looked sharp for much of the game, going on long runs to put away GRB. While this game was a nice confidence boost, the competition over the next two exhibition games will be ratcheted up with Argentina and Spain waiting. Thursday’s 118-78 victory is what I envisioned Team U.S.A. doing to its opponents. It’s clear that Team U.S.A. has the athletes and skill to blow-out almost any country they will come across in the Olympics. I loved what I saw against Great Britain. Despite being known for its soccer culture, Great Britain is trying to get use to the American game of basketball. And it was clear from the beginning. Team U.S.A. repeatedly blitz GRB, forcing 27 turnovers, throughout the course of the game. After struggling for much of the game against Brazil, Team U.S.A. was out to prove a statement, albeit against a much-lesser opponent. But nonetheless, it was nice to see Team U.S.A. not settle for jumpers. They continued to attack the rack with dunk after dunk after dunk.
After being inserted into the starting lineup, Deron Williams responded by hitting 7 of 8 shots, 5 of six three’s, en route to 19 points and five assists. Carmelo Anthony responded after being taken out of the starting lineup by scoring 19 points on 8-10 shooting from the field. Team U.S.A. got production up and down, and across the board from every member. Six players scored in double-figures, they totaled 39 assists as a team to only nine turnovers, and shot a whopping 60.3% from the field (47-78).
I think if they can play with the energy they played with yesterday, they will be an extremely tough team to beat. I loved how they kept attacking even when Great Britain went to a 2-3 zone in the second half. Team U.S.A. moved the ball around the perimeter, inside and outside, before getting a high percentage shot. I remember one possession where Team U.S.A. was passing the ball crisply around the perimeter, Carmelo cut to the basket and at the same time, saw the post defender step up to try to stop him. So Carmelo dropped the ball off to cutting LeBron James for a monster slam. It’s little things like that that go a long way to achieving team success.
With the game against Great Britain in the rear-view mirror, Team U.S.A. now looks forward to facing Argentina on Sunday. You can catch the game on ESPN2.