In front of 17,000 fans, USA showed why they are the team to beat at this summer’s Olympics, displaying their elite athleticism, depth and savvy on their way to a 40 point victory. Despite GB holding their own for portions of the first half, in the second it got ugly, as USA had countless dunks to wow the crowd.
“It’s not what we wanted the score to be,” explained a disappointed Luol Deng after the game. “We’ve gotta do a better job of not turning the ball over, they put the pressure on us and we couldn’t handle it. They got a lot of lay-ups and easy baskets.”
GB were forced in to 26 turnovers allowing the USA to get out in transition, much to the pleasure of the home crowd.
“I don’t think they’ve faced anybody as athletic as we are,” a complementary Coach Krzyzewski said in the post-game press conference. “I talked to Luol after the game and I said ‘I really like your group and your toughness’…and he said they have just never faced that speed and quickness. You can’t practice that, you can’t simulate that. I thought it was a great experience for them, and us.”
Joel Freeland, who signed a contract with Portland Trailblazers last week, had a tough welcome to the level of NBA talent he will be going up against next year and was evidently upset with his own performance against the world number 1 team.
“The game was tough for us, obviously,” the 6’10 Freeland explained. “We had to be more prepared mentally. I think we gave them way to much respect through the whole game, me personally, way to much respect, and collectively.”
“Obviously it was a disappointing performance in the way that the second half unfolded,” said GB coach Chris Finch after the game. “I thought that the inability to stay away from compound mistakes really hurt us, a turnover, a missed defensive assignment, stuff like that kind of snowballed out there.
“But I think the biggest benefit for us playing this game was to a play a team of this caliber and being able to kind of “case harden” ourselves for the Olympics. Our guys should have learned through this process, we played well at times through the first half but in the second half we never really got into the game.”
And despite the scoreline, Coach K believes GB could be one of the teams to provide an upset or two at the Olympics.
“I think Great Britain has a chance to do some damage in the Olympics in men’s basketball. I think they’re tough and they’re well coached and Luol’s a great player.”
USA played unselfish ball, registering 39 assists whilst turning the ball over just 9 times.
GB will now head to Belgium where they will play Tunisia and Belgium this coming weekend before their Olympic journey begins.
- Kobe got the most love in the building, by far.
- A lot of people been getting on the announcer for pronouncing Deron Williams’ name ‘Darren’. It is pronounced Darren.
- When the crowd actually made noise, it was the loudest basketball crowd I’ve ever heard in the UK. However, most of the time they were pretty quiet. Must be a British hoops thing.
- The athleticism of USA is just crazy. The speed in which they got up and down the floor was just ridiculous and will be totally unrivaled at the games.
- USA’s ball pressure just killed us in the back court. Despite Andrew Lawrence playing with real fearlessness, we really struggled.
Did you watch the game? Thoughts?
Image: (Photo by Mansoor Ahmed/Mansoor Ahmed Photography)
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