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Team USA vs. Lithuania

Seems like a bad start early. The US is running some terrible offense.

7 point first quarter. Yuck.

Billups and Durant have been awful so far. This team has to run and get to the rim.

AI9 hits the first three on his first look. Fraschilla has things he calls players, and Iggy's is "Swiss Army Knife." He'll repeat it 10,000 times like every time he calls a Villanova game, he explains the origins of "Fisher Price" for Corey Fisher.

I never really get international basketball. You're looking at a team that, if it were in the NBA, would very possibly be an NBA Finalist or even champion. The Lithuanian team would probably be one of the two worst in the league. Why do we not dominate? They haven't played together much, but does anyone expect the Miami Heat to struggle in November until they learn how to play together?

Yes, it takes time to learn to play together and the rules to international basketball are different, and take time to adjust to.

This isn't the 'A-Team' of the NBA team either. 3/4 of these guys wouldn't be on the roster if everyone who was supposed to show up - did show up. There's a lot less national pride in stuff like this for the USA than other countries (In all sports) cause honestly, we have too many options.

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Tray reply to GoSixers on Aug 21 at 16:36
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No, it's not the A-team of the NBA; it is, however, a team with as much talent as any NBA team, with the possible exception of Miami. It's very unclear to me why we need LeBron, Kobe, Wade, Bosh, Garnett, etc. to win in international ball when other teams can thrive when their best player is Linas Kleiza.

Which team has it's best player that is Linas Kleiza

Ignoring the jingoistic implications that you somehow think good players don't exist outside the USA, there's a lot of very talented top 20 talents in the NBA who play for other teams.

And Team matters, not individuals.

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Rich reply to GoSixers on Aug 21 at 18:06
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Lithuania's best player is Linas Kleiza.

ANd the US beat em - first real game with the final roster. Krzezewski himself said today he didn't expect them firing on all cylinders until (if) they make the medal round.

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Tray reply to GoSixers on Aug 21 at 19:32
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Obviously tons of great players exist outside the U.S., but not a whole lot of legitimately great players exist outside the NBA. And most of these teams are basically Euroleague All-Star teams.

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Rich reply to Tray on Aug 21 at 16:01
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Physicality of the game is the biggest reason for me. You are allowed to handcheck here, so guys like Rose and Rondo aren't unguardable. The shorter three point line keeps the game close as well.

Are there illegal defense calls in the International Game?

Nope.

This team plays very good defense though, really playing passing lanes well, realizing that we can be physical as well. AI9 can't gamble as much because he guards the best player, but they really have an idea on how to make it tough on handlers. The ball pressure looks good enough that the lack of size inside isn't hurting them. Let's see the Spain game tomorrow.

Man, I don't want to see Chauncey running the point that much for this team.

Was Iguodala the main opposition for Linas Kleiza?

Klieza is a good player- probably top 5-10 in Euroleague. He will put up big numbers on a bad Raptors team next year. He could be their best player.

Team USA is basically an under 23 team comprised entirely of PG/SG/SF. They also lack great interior defense or offense. Its hard- even with star athletes- to win without good centers or PF's. Especially when the opponent can zone and hand check. It will be an uphill battle to beat a well balance team like Spain or Greece. I think if Pau and some of the other top international NBA players like Dirk, Manu, Parker and Nene were playing the USA would be major underdogs. As it stands it should be an interesting match-up in the Worlds.

BTW, France could have made an interesting roster if Parker, Beabois, Noah (French eligible), Seraphin, Pietrus, Turiaf, Batum and Diaw all were playing.

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Rich reply to tk76 on Aug 22 at 0:53
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If Pau and Manu played, they would be underdogs to those respective countries. From what I've seen in international play, they still would handle those other countries even if their stars played. France has had a lot of talent before but they never put it together. Parker and Noah don't make a huge difference, just make them a little more competitive. Germany is always a one man show with Dirk, couldn't get out of the group stage in the Olympics when Chris Kaman played. Brazil got fourth in FIBA Americas Champoionship (lost to Puerto Rico or the Fightin Carlos Arroyos as it seems in 3rd Place Game) with all their big guns minus Varejao (Nene, Barbosa, Splitter).

Manu and Pau are the big ones missing, because those countries have really developed a culture of winning. Those guys are great international players too.

Being an "international/European" myself i can tell you that while the Americans always look great on paper, they are rarely the best TEAM. Actually in the past, the biggest problem was that the players thought it's gonna be a cakewalk and their ego made them self - combust. The rules are a little bit different, true, but they are not that different. The main advantage most of the other teams have is chemistry. And this championships show you just how important chemistry actually is. Almost all of the european teams have a well established program for the national team. They gather often, know each other from a very young age (U20 teams, U17 teams...) and most importantly they are 90% the same group of players each time. Injuries and sometimes personal reasons always happen and someone is always missing, but the whole team not willing to participate is unheard of in Europe. Playing for the NT team should be an honor and honestly it's beyond my understanding how is it possible for all of the players on the Olympic team to reject playing for the team (maybe because i've never been to the US i don't understand you Americans that well).

And in the end very little does anyone pay attention to the tactical supremacy european teams often have. Nobody questions the elite athleticism of the Americans, but coaching (i have no idea why there has never been a european coach in the NBA) and players capable of putting what they have been told on the court are at worst equally important.

Bottomline, the US has the best team (always have). It'll always be whether they want to win it hard enough, that will determine their fate at each championship...

Btw, don't be mad at me for being slightly harsh :). This is what it looks like from over here :)).

One point to notice on the "why doesn't the U.S.usually team do better" topic is that the teams don't play a "best of" series to decide a winner, so there is inevitably more chance to the outcomes. It's not as if any particular European team always does well either. The Sixers would have been NBA champs in 2001 if they were playing a best of one series against the Lakers.


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speekeasy reply to izimbra on Aug 22 at 18:06
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good point

The times team USA struggles is when they decide to put Allen Iversons as starters, when they shouldn't even be on the team.

I mean... why would Allen Iverson ever be on team usa? All he does is score inefficiently... he is a complete drain and a horrible horrible piece. That is why team USA struggles sometimes. They accept any high PPG players when they don't need more scoring... ever. They need better players, and Andre Iguodala is a good player. He is helping this team a lot more than a Carmelo Anthony would.


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