Friday, August 04, 2006


Watched the latest incarnation of Team USA beat the living crap out of Puerto Rico last night. With the exception of the first quarter, which was actually close, it wasn't much of a game. Just a long highlight montage of steals, dunks, threes and salutes (the latest celebration technique). Even without Kobe Bryant (knee) and Amare Stoudemire (knees) this wasn't any kind of contest.

PR opened strong enough, behind point guard Carlos Arroyo. They stayed even with the the American starters (LeBron, Carmelo, Wade, Bosh and Chris Paul) for the first quarter, pulling ahead by four early in the second. Then came the inevitable run. A 31-2 run, no less, fueled by the guys off the bench—Brad Miller, Kirk Hinrich, Joe Johnson, Dwight Howard. By the time the run was over, so was the game.

The biggest danger for Team USA now seems to be overconfidence. It's hard to stay focused while on either end of a blowout, but it's important that they keep playing the way they should instead of transforming into a swaggering, obnoxious bunch like the World Championship team of '94. Given the roster—and the presence of Coach K—it's unlikely that would happen, but you never know. Then again, if that's the only concern, things are looking pretty good.

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