After a night of tossing and turning and getting virtually no sleep, I decided that I should take advantage of my wakefulness and watch Team USA take on the pesky Australians in the opening of medal round play.
I've decided to go a different route in describing the game. Rather than a game recap, I thought I would provide more of a quarter-by-quarter breakdown of both play and observations.
- The United States opened on a nice run, extending a lead of 12-3 before Australia started hitting their three-pointers to cut the lead to 15-12.
- After several games in which the United States dominated their opponents with crisp ball movement, the US seemed to opt for NBA style basketball: one-on-one.
- Kobe Bryant seemed especially content taking the shot once the ball reached his hands. Luckily for the United States, the jumpers were falling.
- Dwight Howard did a nice job on the inside, getting outstanding position and fighting for offensive rebounds.
- The US left too many points on the free throw line in the first quarter, but Dwight and Carmelo Anthony did a good job in putting pressure on the offensive boards.
- On the defensive end, the Americans were leaving just a bit too much daylight on the perimeter on a consistent basis, and were lucky that they were not barraged by three-pointers.
- Why Patrick Mills is not on the floor a majority of the time is beyond me. That kid is a difference maker for the Aussies, and gave the US fits.
- Australia tried to go the physical route, and at times seemed to fluster the US.
- The Americans only held a one-point lead at the end of the first, as the Australians proved to be a pesky bunch.
- Team USA ratcheted up the defense to kick off the quarter, forcing Australia into numerous turnovers, which led to fast break points.
- The US continued to play a one-on-one style of play, but started to penetrate at will. To top it off, they were also drawing fouls, and it may have been starting to break the Aussies' spirit.
- Again, Patrick Mills was leading the way for Australia, making plays and providing fire for his team.
- Australia continued their physical play, but to no avail as the US was keeping their calm. Things did get chippy at one point, as a little shoving match ensued between LeBron and an end of the bench Australian.
- Deron closed the half with a three at the buzzer, giving the US a 12-point lead at the break.
- The US came out on fire, reigning down three-pointers and just outclassing the Australians.
- The defense and hustle started to come out as LeBron and Kidd seemed to be everywhere. LeBron was diving out of bounds, and Kidd was showing off the rebounding prowess, snatching the ball right out from an Aussie's hands.
- This one quickly got out of hand as the ball movement and razzle dazzle started to find its way into the play for the Americans.
- Everyone was getting in on the act, as Dwayne Wade banked in a three-pointer.
- US continued on with the three-point parade, but Australia soon got in the act to keep it from getting embarrassing...for a while at least.
- Where's Dick Vitale because "It's Show Time BABY!" dunks, snazzy passing, and deep-ranged three-pointers galore!
- Well, it became a laugher, with the United States just cruising and doing what they want, when they want.
- Australia resorted to desperation as they continued to heave up three-pointers, but what choice was there?
- Not much to analyze here. It just became playtime for the Americans.
- A 31-point victory for the US put to rest any worries there may have been with Australia's "size."
- Kidd is most definitely the leader of this team. He may be aging, but he stepped up in the first quarter when needed and played great defense when matched with Mills.
- The Americans left way too many points on the free throw line. They must hit the freebies or one of these times an opponent will hang around long enough to believe.
- Dwight Howard and Carmelo Anthony did an incredible job of getting position for offensive rebounds/tips. The ball didn't always come off the rim, but I was impressed with the effort. Total team effort on the offensive glass was a big component of this route.
- Perimeter defense is still questionable. The US can't continue to give teams daylight or the opportunity to catch fire. The Australians didn't take advantage, but any team in these medal rounds can light it up from three-point range.
- Mills should be on the floor as much as possible for the Australians, which he was not. He ended up trying to do too much at times, trying to fight the Aussies back into the game single handedly, but that is extremely difficult against this US team.
- The US must continue to force turnovers and cut down on their own. The half court game is spotty, and it took a while for the US to find their range. Keep forcing turnovers and get out on the break, and the shots will start to fall in the half-court.
- The buzzer/substitution horn is extremely annoying. Sounds like a miniature tug boat combined with a squeak horn from a child's bicycle complete with tassels hanging from the handlebars and training wheels.
All in all, a pretty impressive performance considering this was only an 11-point game just about a week ago. The Americans have much to improve on, but I don't think there is anyone at this point who can exploit those weaknesses.
I'm going back to bed. Good morning and good night.