USA-Greece Basketball (Second Half): Live-Blogging the Redeem Team

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USA-Greece Basketball (Second Half): Live-Blogging the Redeem Team

(Note: if you missed the first half live-blog, you can read it here.)

 

9:00     The second half is just about to start in Beijing…USA leads Greece 51-32.  Remember all times are Beijing…and Eastern!  The Americans will have the ball first…and we’re underway.

 

9:00     Quick shot for the Americans, and Greece has the ball...the nice thing for Team USA is that Greece’s slow tempo doesn’t lend itself to big twenty-point comebacks.

 

9:01     LeBron with a rebound and putback.  The USA’s forwards (LeBron, Wade, Anthony, etc.) have done an admirable job throughout the first three games of attacking the glass.  This will be crucial throughout the tournament with such an undersized squad.

 

9:01     Anthony gets to the free throw line…he’s pretty consistent there, and knocks down both attempts. Redeem Team by 21.

 

9:02     Somebody’s bleeding…not enough that we can see, but enough to stop the game momentarily.

 

9:02     Greece barely beats the shot-clock with a three.  I had a feeling they would start to knock those down.

 

9:03     Kobe answers with a beautiful “and-one” floating jumper.  SportsCenter again.

 

9:03     Greece with another three…here it comes.  They had started 0-8, but now they’ve made triples on their last two trips.

 

9:04     Rejection by Kobe Bryant.  The highlights continue.

 

9:05     Howard with the rebound…with his three first-half fouls, we haven’t seen much of him.  Anthony hits a three at the other end.  His outside shooting is always critical for Team USA.

 

9:06     What is Jason Kidd doing blocking shots?  I wonder.

 

9:06     Why did Kobe Bryant decide to start making threes?  I wonder.

 

9:06     Nice move by Greece to get to the rim and finish. The lead is 21 again.

 

9:07     Go back to Kobe…he’s hot…instead it’s a whistle and turnover inside.  I guess I can’t coach very well from South Carolina.

 

9:07     Volleyball at the rim…Greece had seventy-nine (or so) attempts at the hoop, but they all missed.  Kidd throws an eighty-foot one-bounce outlet pass, and Kobe finishes with authority.

 

9:08     Greece with a well-designed inbounds play, and the ensuing jumper cuts the lead to 65-45.  Kobe can’t convert a step-under bank shot, and the Greeks answer with a three-point play chance.  Credit the blue and white for refusing to fold once the lead hit twenty-plus.

 

9:09     Dwyane Wade checks in for his first second-half appearance, and as Marv Albert would say, “he hears it from this capacity crowd”.

 

9:10     Block party in Beijing.  LeBron from behind.  Then Bosh from behind.  Then the referees decide Greece has been emotionally damaged and reward them with free throws for no apparent reason.

 

9:11     At least that’s what it looks like from here.

 

9:12     Great pass by Greece….better block by LeBron.  I would have thought going into the tournament that Howard would be the shot-blocker extraordinaire, but that honor has gone to Mr. James.

 

9:12     Nice finish by Chris Bosh.  Seems like I’ve said that a few times today.

 

9:12     Exceptional defense by the Americans to force another turnover. Between the steals and blocked shots, Greecehas struggled to get their offense untracked.

 

9:13     Great move by Wade to draw free throws at the arc. Will it be two or three shots?

 

9:14     He’s going to get three.  The NBA superstars have the “Reggie Miller pump-fake and jump-in” mastered.

 

9:15     Wade is headed back to the line. When the Americans attack the rim consistently, they’re hard to beat.  When they settle for outside shots, well…see “2002 Worlds”, “2004 Olympics”, or “2006 Worlds”.   Not so hard to beat.

 

9:16     Final thirty seconds of the third…Greece trying to cut into a 17-point lead.  Monster rebound by Anthony, and it’s final-shot time.

 

9:17     Paul/Bosh pick and roll, Wade curls down the lane now…foul and the finish.  Great execution in the half-court, and Wade can make the lead an even twenty with a free throw.

 

9:17     And he does.  USA 74, Greece 54 with one quarter to play.  The Greeks used improved three-point shooting to score 22 points in the frame (after posting 16 and 16 in the first two periods).

 

9:20     Commericals are over, and the final ten minutes have begun. 

 

9:21     It will be interesting to see if Greece tries to make up the deficit from inside or outside the arc.

 

9:22     Another cheap foul against the United States.  Oh well.

 

9:22     Chris Paul looking like a superstar with a pull-up mid-range jumper.  Paul, Williams, Wade, Anthony, and Bosh are on the floor for the Redeem Team.

 

9:23     I love watching Paul and Williams play together.  They have an innate chemistry, and Coach K has exploited that by giving them a ton of simultaneous minutes. 

 

9:24     LeBron’s back, and makes his presence felt with a drive and dish that finishes with a Chris Bosh dunk.

 

9:25     Wade misses two free throws.  Superman has found some kryptonite…at least on this trip.  He’s actually a pedestrian 4-9 right now.  The Americans as a team are only 59% from the charity stripe.

 

9:27     Under seven to go.  As the game has gone on, the USA has grown more comfortable attacking the Greek zone, and their inside-out passing and penetration right now is textbook.

 

9:28     We have a Tayshaun Prince and Michael Redd sighting - finally. Still no Carlos Boozer     .  Coach K is developing a rotation, and he definitely doesn’t appear to be concerned about playing everybody evenly.  The gold is all that matters.

 

9:29     Now we see Boozer.  He and Deron Williams represent the Jazz on the floor together. 

 

9:30     Boozer scores on his first trip down the floor.  82-57 Americans.  If there’s such a thing as “garbage time” at the Olympics, we’re watching it.

 

9:31     This game has reminded me of the last two (vs. China and Angola) in that the Redeem Team appears completely unconcerned with blowing out the opposition.  Do the right thing the right way for forty minutes, and you’ll wear down whoever you play with your superior depth and ability.  Winning by sixty gets you no further toward a medal than winning by six.

 

9:32     I’m guessing the starters are done for the day, and if so, Bosh will finish with an impressive 18 points, while Wade and Bryant added 17 each.

 

9:34     Redd tries to force the ball into the middle and ends up with a turnover.  I’ve written it before, but his one and only job is to make outside shots.  It’s easy to start pressing when they’re not dropping, but stick to what you do best.

 

9:35     Under three to play, and Greece isn’t in much of a hurry.  Of course, they haven’t been in a hurry during the first 37 minutes either. They do score eventually to cut the lead to twenty.

 

9:37     Nice dump-off from Paul to Boozer.  I may have called this “garbage time”, but we’re still watching some of the best players in the NBA.  Paul was the MVP runner-up, in case we forget so quickly.

 

9:38     Michael Redd for three.  Great sign for the USA’s medal hopes.  They’re a not-so-awful 6-19 from distance now.  Hopefully before the Games end, they can improve their three-point shooting from “not-so-awful” to “somewhat decent”.

 

9:39     On cue, it’s another USA three.  There’s hope for “somewhat decent” after all.

 

9:40     Final score from Beijing: USA 92, Greece 69.  Another step towards redemption for the red, white, and blue.   Thanks for following along on Bleacher Report!

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