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Sunday, August 24, 2008
Culminating a three year mission to end years of international frustration, the U.S. "Redeem Team" survived a huge challenge from Spain, winning 118-107 in the 2008 Olympic Gold Medal Basketball game. Order has now been restored in international basketball. After overwhelming everyone for seven games, the Americans led by only four points with under 2 1/2 minutes to play. Then, they proved they could handle a close game that it seemed would never come in Beijing. Their prize.... the first U.S. gold medal since the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat scored 27 points for the Americans, who found a much gamer Spanish team than the one they humiliated by 37 points earlier in the tournament. NBA MVP Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers added 20 clutch points and led the team with 6 assists. The Americans had too much offense down the stretch. Bryant converted a clutch four point play with 3:10 remaining, holding his finger to his lips to quiet the rowdy Spanish crowd behind the basket. Wade added another 3 pointer that made it 111-104 with just over 2 minutes left, and only then could the Americans relax a little. They began to celebrate during a break after some technical fouls on Spain with 26 seconds left, then partied at midcourt when it was over with “Born in the USA” blaring over the arena’s speakers. Rudy Fernandez of the Portland Trail Blazers scored 22 points and Pau Gasol of the Los Angeles Lakers had 21 for the Spanish, the reigning world champions who were hoping to win their first Olympic gold. Now, here's hoping that USA Basketball can keep the core of this group together for the 2010 World Championships in Istanbul and the 2012 Olympics in London. If they can, this team may be able to shed it's "Redeem Team" moniker and fulfill the illustrious "Dream Team" legacy.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
The USA Men's Basketball team aka the "Redeem Team" just concluded a very successful few days that saw them rout the 2 teams considered their biggest rivals for the Gold Medal at the Olympics. First, they earned a bit of redemption by blowing out Greece 92-69, avenging their lone loss at the 2006 World Basketball Championships. Los Angeles Lakers guard and NBA MVP Kobe Bryant led the way with 18 points, Toronto Raptors forward Chris Bosh also had 18, Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat had 17 points, six steals and five assists and Lebron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers chipped in with 13 points, six rebounds and six assists. Next, they blew the defending world basketball champions Spain off the court 119-82. It was the US team's 4th straight win, widest margin of victory yet and secured the #1 seed in group A for the Quarterfinals. Lebron James led the way with 18 points, eight assists, five rebounds and four steals, Carmelo Anthony of the Denver Nuggets scored 16 points and had six rebounds; and Dwyane Wade added 16 points and six rebounds, Chris Paul of the New Orleans Hornets recorded 14 points dished out eight assists, had five steals and five rebounds. Kobe Bryant added 11 as did Deron Williams of the Utah Jazz. Next up for the US is a meaningless game against Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks and Germany on Monday 8/18. Then the real fun begins as the Quarterfinals (single elimination) get under way. One thing is clear after watching the "Redeem Team" dominate Greece and Spain, if they keeping playing this way.... redemption for USA Basketball is close at hand.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Team USA's "Redeem Team" (2-0 in the Olympics) faces Greece Thursday, the team that stunned them two years ago in the semifinals of the world championship. The Greeks are physical, and they should provide the first test of these games for the United States. After the Greece game Thursday, the Americans face world champion Spain, who are also 2-0 after rallying to beat China in overtime. What's become clear thus far is that even though Team USA boasts a roster featuring Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, etc... they have displayed a lack of outside shooting, poor free throw shooting and inconsistent defensive intensity. These weaknesses were easily overcome against inferior competition. But against the elite international teams such as Spain, Greece and Argentina..... Team USA will have to play their A game if they hope to recapture the gold and truly redeem USA basketball.
New York Jets coach Eric Mangini said Brett Favre will start next Saturday against the Washington Redskins in the team's NFL pre-season home opener. If Favre's first practice was any indication, get ready for a frenzied atmosphere for a largely meaningless game. More than 7,000 fans packed the club's practice facility in Long Island to catch a glimpse of the iconic quarterback in his first appearance on a field with New York. Favre was acquired from Green Bay Packers, sending a jolt through the franchise and the rest of the NFL. For New York Jets tickets or any NFL tickets, be sure to visit www.TicketRequest.com