Road To Redemption: US Men Get First Taste Of Revenge

Dan WadeSenior Analyst IAugust 14, 2008

No disrespect to China and Angloa, but the US men finally met an opponent they needed to worry about.

Sure, Greece isn't in the same category with the other FIBA powers, such as Spain and Argentina, but they are a top 10 team according to the most recent FIBA rankings.

More importantly, they were the first team the US has faced so far that contributed to the humiliation that was USA Basketball circa 2004-2007.

Greece  defeated the so-called Redeem Team in the 2007 World Championships by shooting an unheard of .625 from the field, and while the 101-95 loss was far from the worst the US had suffered, it did set into stark relief what the US needed to do: learn the international game and play defense.

Coach K renewed the team's commitment to playing solid defense and it has shown so far in the Olympics. The 76 points scored by Angola is the most the US has given up, and the Greeks (they of the 63% shooting night) were pinned down by Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, and the rest of the US squad. The Greeks shot a passable 41% from the field, but the US was much better, shooting almost 54%.

There is an old Chinese saying that goes "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step". Beating the Greeks was a good first step, but the Redeem Team has a long way to go before they can claim their goal.