USA Basketball: Red, White, and Dunk?
Team USA stroke again with the help of LeBron James back off of injury as USA defeated Turkey 114-82 on another dunk fest tune up game before the team heads to Shanghai for their final two of three games. James scored 20 points and was a defensive force Thursday night in his exhibition debut, helping the U.S. Olympic basketball team overcome some early sloppy play.
At the end of the first quarter USA lead by a very skinny point, 31-30. That means there was zero defense by either team which you won't see in the Olympic Games in Beijing. Here is the key for TEAM USA Basketball and help me out here with this one if you agree? There is a difference in playing unselfishly and playing as a TEAM. (Together Everybody Achieves More). Granted the team is playing unselfishly and that is a plus, and it's really leading to some great 1 on 1 highlight dunks. Awesome! But I believe it's breeding false confidence within the team and the fans here in the United States who may not be watching these exibition games.
Just because were playing unselfishly doesn't mean were playing World-Class basketball as a team. Winning the Gold medal this year at the games is going to take a total team effort. Team USA's full court press last night was a joke and even to Team Turkey who were able to expose the gigantic holes in our press defense. I hope over the next 2 games Coach K is stressing Red, White, and Blue which defines TEAM USA and continuity. Right now were playing Red, White, and Dunk basketball which will prevent us from getting to the Medal stand if we continue this 1 on 1 mentality.
Having said that Turkey pretty much gave up in the quarter and the United States went on for the easy victory. They improved to 2-0 in Olympic tune-up play and face Lithuania here Friday before moving on to Shanghai for their remaining two games.
James was 8-of-9 from the field and finished with six rebounds, five steals and four assists in 23 minutes, sitting out the fourth quarter. James had 12 points in the half and added eight more and some of the game's highlight plays in the third. Following a basket by Turkey, he took the ball out and whipped a pass to the other end of the court to a streaking Dwyane Wade for a dunk. A minute later, James had another steal and passed ahead to Kobe Bryant, who bounced it in front of the basket to Anthony for a dunk.
Turkey didn't qualify for the Olympics and has an automatic berth into the 2010 world championships as the host country.
Game Highlights (USA vs. Turkey)