Monday, August 30, 2010

USA v. Brazil Final, Group Play, August 30

Man, we got sloppy in the 4th quarter. Same type of thing that happened in the second quarter against Slovenia, only this time, they had the horses to score and make it extremely close. Even luckily close. Let's look at what happened:

Chauncey Billups. He was terrible in the 4th. I know he scored the layup that got us to 70 points, but overall, it was a disaster. In the 3rd, I was writing on how his veteran presence and moves helped open the floor, but he seemed to sense that and proceeded to chuck up 3's, turn it over, etc. What I think coach K needs to do is play more with Durant/Rose bringing the ball up, allowing us to attack from the get go. I think this will help us bust the zone by initiating the ball differently and will change the pace that we go at.

Turnovers. These were ugly. Some of them, too ugly (see the section on refs). I think a lot of our guys tried to play faster than they should, and some of them tried to dribble through guys. We have had problems with turnovers the last few games, and if it weren't for our defense, this would be a loss. The big knock is that our bench guards, guys with handles (Westbrook, Gordon, Curry) are turning it over. Not good.

The referees. These guys can't ref NBA players. Even NBA refs don't have the skills to ref NBA players. Over the last 3 USA games, there have consistently been bad calls because the refs are not used to the speed these players go at. Most blatant are the travelling issues: I know our guys sometimes raise the pivot foot before the ball is dribbled, and the refs know that, but I think sometimes they preemptively whistle the balls dead 2-3 times a game (especially on KD). I just think our guys are too fast for these refs to watch. Other issues are with block/charge calls, though I can't really complain on this because it is a debated call no matter what league you're in.

Defense: I was actually impressed with our interior defense on Splitter. Of course, if we can't play with him, then Spain/Greece are going to eat us alive, but we showed we can at least play with him. Great defense.

Kevin Durant. Need I say more?

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