Game Time: USA vs Turkey, Take I & II

A collaborative effort thanks to David Wafer’s nbaroundtable.

Enjoy!

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Take I
by David Wafer

Missed the start of the game. We’re tuning in halfway through the second with the US leading 37-34.

  • LeBron James playing tonight. He just hit a midrange J off the dribble. Turnover Turkey, Deron leads the break, pass to the left wing to LeBron, touch pass, Kobe layup. Nice passing from Williams and James.
  • Erden is playing for Turkey tonight. He was the final pick in the draft this year, selected by the Celtics.
  • US looking very dangerous off of turnovers again tonight. Their halfcourt offense looks a bit disjointed so far though. A couple of sloppy turnovers haven’t helped matters but the main problem is that their offense doesn’t seem to be heading in any particular direction.
  • LeBron James with two steals in a little over a minute here. US are putting a lot of pressure on the ball and creating a lot of havoc defensively, primarily on the perimeter. Another turnover, Kobe leads the break, high lob to LeBron, one handed slam. US up 50-37 now. Turkey’s offense can’t get anything going. LeBron makes another steal, beautiful recovery play. The US’ zone was all over the place and left one of Turkey’s bigs under the left hand side of the rim, LeBron was defending his man out in the opposite corner, he sprinted a good 15 feet and soared through the air to deny that easy dunk. Great stuff.
  • Carmelo and LeBron have 25 of the team’s 52 points. Wade is the third leading scorer adding another 8. US are getting outrebounded ever so slightly (13-12) though. US outscored Turkey 23-7 in the second quarter to get their lead.
  • Chris Paul making another razzle dazzle play to end the half. He got a high screen and roll at the top of the key, he cut through the middle of the paint, sold the help defense on the ball fake (pass to right wing), sliced inside for a layup. He made that look simple.
  • Halftime
  • Looks like the Turkish team has thrown in the towel. They’ve started the second half with no intensity and they’re giving up easy shots right at the rim. They’re down 21 points now. This could get ugly. They’re getting very little going offensively also which seems to be effecting their levels of effort and confidence.
  • This is like a layup drill. US up 25 points after the powerful flush from LeBron. Turkey are faking it just enough to make you think they’re still trying.
  • Turkey hit a nice three there. The US almost stole the ball four times on that possession but Turkey made the most of the broken play and found an open shooter. What happens next? Wade leaks out and gets a wide open layup off the inbounds pass. Terrible defense by Turkey.
  • Nice play. Turnover Turkey, long outlet from LeBron up ahead to Kobe, right by the bucket now, Kobe pounds the ball hard and high off the floorboads, Melo goes up, collects it, flushes it. Creative alley oop.
  • Gonlum has given the Turks some good work tonight. He’s been a threat. A few nice moves and looks to go inside a little bit. He’s been their best big man. #13 the point guard has been decent too.
  • US up 31 points here in the fourth. Okay I’m going to call this one because the game is pretty much dead as a contest, all that’s left is the odd highlight type play here and there.

Great defense again by the US tonight. They’re terrific at creating turnovers and making teams pay on the break.

On the dubious side, I can’t help but wonder what their offense will look like when the opposition limits their layups and actually makes them create something in the halfcourt. They’ve gotten quite a few turnovers in the halfcourt and have mostly resorted to one-on-one plays rather than team orientated stuff. Anyway it’s too early to tell about that but it’ll be interesting to watch as the level of competition picks up.

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Take II
by khandor

Once upon a time (e.g. 50 years ago) the USA had major advantages over every international team in the world in every single facet of the game. Today, this is no longer the situation.

The major US advantage today is the individual Defensive ability of their very best players … specifically, to pressure and then steal the ball from their opponent, in effect, totally disrupting their opponent’s half and/or full court offense.

This version of USA Basketball is centered on the Defensive abilities of Kobe Bryant and Lebron James, and their respective capacities to wreak havoc on this side of the ball, both in freelance situations and within scripted defensive ‘plays’.

Jason Kidd’s unselfishness, as this team’s leader at the PG position is crucial, as well, but only as a corollary to the DEFENSE of Bean & The King.

Second.

Coach K. is simply an ‘average’ game coach. Has been throughout his career. His strengths as a Leader exist outside the parameters of the 48 (or, in this case, 40) Minutes of Live Action, and have to do with such things as interpersonal relationships, goal-setting, Command, communication, preparation, etc.

In contrast, making in-game adjustments and the application of specific X’s & O’s have never been hallmarks of his unique coaching style.

It’s not that he doesn’t know these things … because he surely does; he’s a veteran, solid basketball coach. It’s that he CHOOSES not to make these specific aspects of ‘coaching’ what he specifically emphasizes with his teams.

There is nothing wrong with this; it’s merely HIS ’style’ and it works … most of the time … especially when his teams are substantially more talented than their opponents (e.g. see when at Duke).

When his teams struggle, it is usually when (i) they are matched-up against an exceptional in-game coach, whose team can make the necessary adjustments to counter their opponent’s strengths and effectively minimize their own weaknesses, or when (ii) they are physically over-matched.

In international competition, as long as the USA sends a collection of their best players ’situation (ii)’ is not going to happen … but, depending on which team they are matched-up against, and who is coaching that opponent, at that given point in time, Coach K’s team WILL ALWAYS BE VULNERABLE to the type of situation the most recent version of USA Basketball ran into in Japan (at the 2006 World Championships) … i.e. situation (i) … where they were simply out-executed by a savy veteran team under the direction of a solid in-game coach that was (a) physically talented enough and (b) skilled enough (etc.) to cope with the strengths of that specific USA team … in other words, “They were/are Loaded for Bear.”

This year’s version of USA Basketball WILL win the Gold Medal and restore American pride in their basketball supremacy … but, as long as Coach K. is leading their team they will always be vulnerable in this way.

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What did others see?

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3 Responses to “Game Time: USA vs Turkey, Take I & II”

  1. Upside and Motor: Team USA Blogger Roundtable « Khandor’s Sports Blog Says:

    […] Khandor’s Sports Blog « Game Time: USA vs Turkey, Take I & II […]

  2. bababooey Says:

    Question….so who would you like to “realistically” see coach USA basketball? Offers can go out to Pop, or Sloan, or Jackson even, but do you think they would want to work in that capacity?? After a long 82 game NBA season? What other coaches (college or pro) would you see fit and who would have an interest in coaching international ball aside from their normal duties?

  3. khandor Says:

    bababooey,

    Thanks for your comment.

    IMO, the USA is filled with top notch basketball coaches.

    Coach K. even has one on his own Olympic Team Staff … i.e. Nate MacMillan.

    If asked, I think Nate would have gladly accepted the head coaching gig, as well … as would scores of other notable US coaches.

    Getting a capable person to ‘coach’ Team USA is the least of their problems, from my POV.

    However … what can sometimes get USA Basketball into trouble is when they have someone like Jerry Colangelo handling their entire program … and Jerry decides to go for the ‘bling, bling’ coach who he thinks is what the American Public NEEDS/WANTS from their team at a given point in time.

    It should still work out fine this go round … with Coach K. and Kobe Bryant. 🙂

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