Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Team USA wins the Gold 107-100 over Spain!
Team USA wins the Gold Medal for the second straight Olympics over Spain 107-100! Just like in 2008 Spain gave the United States all they could handle but the U.S. proved down the stretch they were mentally tough. The United States who only had a one point lead entering the fourth quarter saw several of the big time guys in Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul and Lebron James come through in the clutch. Durant set a record for most points scored in a championship game with 30 points as he became the single tournament record holder for points scored with 156 points. Kobe Bryant and coach Mike Krzyzewski ended their Olympic career with a gold medal as they both came into this program when Team USA had hit rock bottom. Then there is Lebron James who capped his magical season joining only Michael Jordan as the only player to ever win the regular season MVP, NBA Finals MVP and Gold Medal in the same season.
In 2004 the United States had reached rock bottom as they finished 3rd in the Olympics. It wasn't only the finish that was embarrassing but the lack of pride that comes with it when playing for your country was evident. This team won the gold back in 2008 and during this tournament challenged the 1992 Dream Team for best team ever assembled. The United States team with so many great players seem to have no conflicts despite being rivals. Lebron James, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant are the three faces of the league and will be fighting with each other to win championships in the next couple of seasons yet they played so well together. The United States often blew out their opponent and the two times they were challenged there was no panic. Bryant and Durant stepped aside and let James carry them home to the gold. That's what made this gold so special everyone on the roster for the most part knew their role and they perfected their role. This might be the last time NBA players play in the Olympics and if that is the case what a way for this group to go out. The United States for the second straight Olympics is the Gold Medal winner! For that I'm proud to be an American.
In the Olympics Durant averaged 19.5 PPG and 5.8 RPG. He shot 48.5% from the field while making 34-65(52.3%) from three point range making 4.3 three pointers a game. He also made 24-27(88.9%) of his free throws. Durant who has won the last three scoring titles showed why he is a terrific shooter. Today he struggled and still shot 8-18(44.4%) from the field and made 9-10 of his free throws. He still made five three pointers. Durant who is the second best player in the NBA showed the entire world that when it's all said and done he will go down as the greatest scorer this game has ever seen.
For the Olympics Paul averaged 8.3 PPG, 5.1 APG and 2.5 steals per game. He shot 51.0% from the field and made 13-28(46.4%) of his three pointers good for 1.6 a game. Paul once again showed everyone why he is the best point guard in the league. Whenever this debate comes up I have never once back off my stance that it is Chris Paul. That is why when the game was on the line coach K had Paul running the point.
Love during these Olympic games averaged 11.6 PPG and led the team with 7.6 RPG. He shot 63.0% from the field and made 8-22(36.4%) from three point range good for one full three pointer a game. Love is often forgotten about because he is stuck up in Minnesota. I think the whole nation now realizes how good Kevin Love is. If you aren't counting Lebron James as a power forward then clearly Kevin Love is the best power forward in the game. Love gave the United States a good big man who can rebound while also the ability to knock down the open shot. I think on a team full of stars years from Love's contributions to this team and in particular this win will be forgotten which is too bad. I don't think the United States wins the gold medal if not for Love stepping up the way he did during these games.
During these Olympics Bryant averaged 12.1 PPG while shooting 42.9% from the field. Where he did most of his damage was beyond the arc where he shot 17-39(43.6%) from three point range making 2.1 three pointers a game. Bryant announced this was his final game for Team USA. For Bryant who joined the team in 2007 he never lost a game while wearing the team USA jersey. In an era when so many superstars didn't want to play for team USA he was the first guy who was in his prime to make playing for team USA cool again. Bryant really won over my respect during these games as he proved he can play a team game. He didn't let his ego get in the way either he may have said he is the best player on the team but he had no problem letting James take control of this team. For Bryant if he never plays an NBA game again he'll be one of the top 10 greatest players in NBA history. With the addition of Howard, Bryant has a chance to be top five all-time when all said and done.
In these Olympics James averaged 13.3 PPG, 5.6 RPG and 5.6 APG. He shot an incredible 60.3% from the field while making 0.75 three pointers a game. He also had a 5.6 assist to turnover ratio. After the game James didn't want to talk about himself but instead how much this means to the United States. Like Anthony, James was on the 2004 team who took home the Bronze medal. James although he didn't play much experienced the pain of that tournament. In 2008 it was viewed as Kobe Bryant's team as he bailed out team USA in the fourth quarter vs Spain. While this year was the year of Lebron James and even his harshest critics have realized he is the best in the game. James grew up a lot this year which I wrote about after he had won his first NBA title . James right now is in his prime right now and there is nobody even close right now to challenging him for the best player in the game not even Kevin Durant. James during these games showed how versatile he can be in becoming the first American and only second Olympian to ever record a triple-double in a game. Like I wrote in that piece right now this is Lebron James league and he is finally mature enough to accept that responsibility.
He took over team USA when they were rock bottom and has now put them at their rightful spot at the top. The graduate of West Point and coaching legend at Duke University made America proud again. He did a great job of managing the ego's of this team and making everyone buy into the team aspect. I don't think that he got enough credit for that. Durant, Bryant and James are all alpha dogs and the best in the game yet they played so well together. In 2008 there was no problem either as he had a superstar Dwyane Wade come off the bench or these Olympics Anthony who started in 2006-08 come off the bench. Coach K truly is the straw that stirs the drink for team USA and replacing him is going to be a tough decision. One thing is for sure he may not have coach any of these guys in college but you couldn't tell one bit. Just shows how highly respected he is and how much this team enjoys basketball. This might not be the greatest team ever assembled but man was this the funnest team to watch since the 1992 team. Coach K took the Herb Brooks attitude of "I don't want the best players but I want the right players" which is what this team was all about thanks to coach K.
This was a terrific win for the United States seeing them win the Gold once again. A roster full of millionaires who have plenty of accomplishments seeing them so joyful over this Gold Medal was truly refreshing to see. See rivals James, Bryant and Durant play so well together on the court was nice to see. There was no ego's on this team and everyone appeared to have known their role. This is why I was so glued to watching these games and loved every minute of it. This is why despite being up only one point heading into the fourth quarter I didn't panic. Neither did these guys as nobody tried to carry the team themselves. It was a collective effort from Chris Paul, Lebron James, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Love. While Carmelo Anthony had contributed all Olympics as well as Deron Williams. The game ended with Anthony Davis grabbing the rebound as he became the youngest guy to ever win an Olympic Gold medal. As a freshman he was college basketball player of the year, won a national championship, was #1 pick overall in the NBA Drat and now has a gold medal. This experience alone will help make Davis a star in this league someday as he'll probably start at center for the 2016 version. This win was so special and I can't say enough for how I felt as a basketball fan watching these Olympics. This current group of players is why the NBA is so interesting today. It really is hard to hate basketball after watching these Olympics. I'm proud to be an American as the United States once again is the Gold Medal champs!