Last Saturday I wrote about the ridiculous praise Team USA has been getting, despite having yet to play an elite international team. A reminder: We've always been able to beat the weak teams, the decent ones give us fits. Still, the media by and large wasn't going to let this tiny detail stop the parade of puppies and sunshine.
There is hope for some logic, and it is coming as a result of Team USA beating Mexico 127-100 (box score). The U.S. beat them into submission in the first quarter, and perhaps understandably coasted a bit the rest of the game. In that period, Mexico (far from an elite international team, by the way) had some success doing the same old stuff that other teams have beat the U.S. with. Chris Sheridan thinks this is something to think about:
"This was a night when the Americans took their foot off the gas after the first quarter and went through the motions the rest of the night, shooting nearly 60 percent from the field but allowing Mexico to outscore them 28-20 in the second quarter and stay within striking distance through most of the third. Mexico, a 51½ point underdog, knocked down 15 3-point shots, almost all of them wide-open looks, and had a lot of success running the same pick-and-roll play that Greece used so effectively against Team USA in the semifinals of the World Championship last summer."
Criticism of a blow out win, even when a much larger margin of victory was expected, will almost always go ignored. But there is something to be said that the same crap that has killed Team USA in the past is still working.
It also continues another disturbing trend. Team USA has had a hard time getting motivated to play an entire game against teams that don't have guys they've heard of.
Sure, they'll get up against Brazil and lockdown Barbosa. But they can't muster this focus against Mexico, which is fine because Mexico isn't a serious threat. Then again, there are a handful of teams that don't feature NBA stars that are good enough to beat the US. That Greece Team Chris references? Thats one. There will likely be more in Beiijng.
Be wary, because while you can be content that the team has answered outside shooting issues and again has the quality pointguards to dominate, they proved against Mexico that the lesson Greece taught us has yet to sink in. The biggest threat to the U.S. is in the psyche of the team, they must learn that these teams pose a real threat even if they don't recognize the players on it. There are lots of teams that will be happy to issue reminders.
These fine places have linked here, even after they read it:
- Agree to Disagree
- Alana G
- And One
- Ball Don't Lie
- Ball In Europe
- Be The Three
- Blaze of Love
- Bust a Bucket
- El CAI a la ACB
- El Ilusorio Blog de Rudy
- Give Me The Rock
- KNEE JERK NBA
- Life on Dumars
- NBA FanHouse
- OregonLive.com Blazers Blog
- Peninsula is Mightier
- Peter Robert Casey
- Rip City Forever
- Roundball Mining Company
- Rusty's Blog
- Sport Chit Chat
- Steven's Triathlon Station
- SunSpectrum: A Phoenix Suns Blog
- The AltRaps Blog
- THE WIZZNUTZZ
- Trailblazers Talk
- Tremendous Upside Potential
- What Would Oakley Do?
A sampling of other places I steal from:
- ► 2010 (29)
- ► 2009 (233)
- ► 2008 (261)
- The joy of tearing a man's pride to pieces
- Team USA doesn't remember Greece
- The Northwest without the Sonics
- Deceptively Quick: officially an obscure subtle in...
- Its good to see us feeling so good about ourselves...
- Its over! 24
- What stinks in Miami? 23
- Grant Hill: Totally Duuuuuuude!, 22
- Its a beautiful goddamn day in Oregon, 21
- How not to show your enthusiasm for your team: thr...
- Fighting a losing Battle: Jack Brown's futile atte...
- NBA Live 08: Bold Predictions (get it? Ha!), 18
- Expanding horizons, 17
- Terry Porter is a real man, 16
- Portland Beavers on Deadspin, 15
- Shit I'm tired of blogging, 14
- Martell Webster, to know you is to be mired in bef...
- Travis Outlaw, to know you is to be mired in befud...
- A Moment of Silence for sweet ticket deals, 11
- Blazer Nicknames, 10
- When I hit the wall, 9
- Seriously, Juwan Howard is in the news, 8
- League to Seattle Owner: stop being stupid, 7
- Tim Donaghy's quest to become the most hated man a...
- Joel Freeland can't catch a break, 5
- The End of Racism, 4
- People in Indiana hate Josh McRoberts, 3
- USA vs Venezuela, 2
- Blog Day 100 entries, 1
- Good thing theres so much meth in Oregon!
- James Hollywood Robinson
- The Reggie Miller Comeback; at least he'll go away...
- Are ugly cars part of the new Blazer Culture?
- When Blazers Matter This Much, I explode
- Jack scheduled to start?
- ▼ August (35)