2012 Dream Team – Cruising for Gold, so Far

They said that this USA team starts slowly, resulting in a 49-25 first quarter, a new record for points in the Olympic games (156) and a new record for biggest margin (83 points) while Carmelo Anthony led the torching of the poor Nigeria team, scoring 37 points in just 14 minutes. It shouldn’t be this easy, should it?

With all the talk about how the original dream team did much better against everyone, it’s easy to forget global basketball, for the most part, is much better these days. A lot more NBA players on each national team should make it a bit harder, if you call beating France, who can put an NBA starting five, by 27 points and then going by Tunisia, beating them 110-63. So far, it seems like Carmelo Anthony is the one enjoying these games the most, averaging 20.7 points per game while playing only 14 minutes per game.

African teams isn’t where people looking for this version of the Dream team to fight hardships and suddenly face an actual challenge are going to find it. Almost all the European teams can’t handle the American show, with a center or without. Anyone expecting anything but a beat-down was mislead by miles.

And on some nights, you just don’t quit. No matter who coach K put on the floor, the ball just wouldn’t hit the rim or the board. Everything sank in the net, as Team USA made 81% of their two point field goal attempts and hit 29 (!!!) three pointers at a success rate of 63%. Anthony himself was 10-12 from beyond the arc, which is a little bit closer to what NBA players are used to.

No one played less than 10 minutes, no one played more than 23 minutes. Kevin Love is turning out to be the big man who’s most effective in the international game for Mike Krzyzewski, while Tyson Chandler seems like there’s no need for him to even take part in the offensive plays, or at least most of them. They’ve yet to meet a team that demands an actual presence in the paint on the defensive end who can change shots on every play. Love, with a much better offensive arsenal, is much better suited for the Olympics so far.

LeBron James and Kobe Bryant? They’re just having fun on the bench. LeBron has been mostly about resting up and passing the ball or finding players for nasty alley-oops, while Bryant is enjoying the role of the veteran on this team without the need to really push himself or force the game towards himself for once. Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony are taking charge of the scoring, but in the last couple of games it was too easy for everyone. Even Bryant, without hardly trying, got 16 easy points against the Nigerians.

Fair play, running up the score? Leave that out the window. These are the Olympic games, and there’s no such thing as running up the score in professional sports. After seeing four different nations get disqualified in Badminton for trying to lose on purpose, anything but doing the best you can beats the purpose of the Olympic games. Maybe Nigeria shouldn’t be here, but that’s a different kind of debate. For now, it was just a very short hurdle on the way to the golden finish line.

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