Posted by Matt Clapp | 8/20/2008 05:47:00 AM | 2008 Olympics, Andrew Bogut, Australia Basketball, Dwyane Wade, Redeem Team, USA Basketball
Call me a gigantic nerd, but I really wanted to watch the USA-Australia quarterfinals game, so I slept a few hours, got up at 5:40 AM mountain time, and turned on the television channel USA(game starts in about 15 minutes, and it's also available to watch online).
I also know that few others will be doing the same thing, so I figured I'd do a running blog that can serve as a game recap for those who missed it.
Two other games have already happened this morning(for Americans), with Spain beating Croatia 72-59, and Lithuania beating China 94-68. Spain and Lithuania move on to the semifinals.
It's a one-and-done format, and Australia gave the USA their toughest competition in an exhibition game last week, with the USA only winning 87-76. That was also without Australia's best player, 7-footer and former first overall selection in the NBA Draft, Milwaukee Bucks center Andrew Bogut. So, although the USA's looked pretty much unbeatable thus far, they certainly must take Australia seriously or else they'll be going home.
Let's kick some Aussie ass Redeem Team...
Mike Breen, arguably the best NBA play-by-play guy around will have the call, along with arguably the best analyst around and the guy we thought would be the new Bulls coach just a couple months ago, Doug Collins.
10:00- And we've tipped off. Bogut is stuffed by Dwight Howard, and Melo comes down and drains a jumper.
7:15- Dwight Howard is a beast out there right now. He's even 1 of 3 from the line! Seriously, if he could make free throws, he could score 30 points in these games. Howard has a block, offensive board, a steal now, and has gone to the line twice. Melo scores again, and Kobe adds in a jumper. 9-3 USA.
5:50- LeBron hits a 3, followed by a Howard dunk. They can't stop him. 14-6 Redeemers.
3:41- 2 players on Australia that I don't know the names of yet just hit 3's. Then Jason Kidd comes down and actually makes a jump shot. Howard's back at the line again. 1 of 2 for Howard, but the USA gets the offensive board, eventually Howard gets 2 more offensive rebounds on the possession and scores.
3:00- Australia hits another 3. D-Wade goes up for an alley-oop, can't handle the pass, and lands hard on the ground. The 3 people that are watching the game in Miami held their breath on that one.
2:00- Craig Sager just said Coach K told the team, "Stop being stupid." 21-17.
1:00- David Barlow of Australia has 7 points and they're only down 2. They've also missed plenty of easy opportunities around the basket. They should be winning this game...
0:50- Australia hits a couple freebies to tie it, then Melo comes down and drills a 3. 24-21 Americans.
End of the quarter- Patrick Mills, the Australia point guard, is having a heck of a game, and especially with his defensive pressure. He just hit a great shot driving to the basket and drew the foul, but missed the free throw. I've gotta say, I'm pretty worried. 25-24 USA, but they shouldn't be winning this game.
10:00- Bogut blows a 3-footer. He's normally good from that range! D-Wade looks fast beyond belief right now, and goes the length of the floor on the rebound for an and one! Now here comes the USA speed. LeBron-Wade connection on a fast break, 33-28.
6:30- Bogut with a pretty left-handed finger roll. Now Kobe's finally looking like the best player in the world. He goes up for a highlight reel "eat this bitch" dunk, then follows that up with a pass fake and lay up. 35-30 USA. I could see the USA going on a big run here. Their defensive tenacity is picking up.
5:45- LeBron's just a freak. He came out of nowhere to get a steal, then took some bitch straight to the hole. It should've been a foul too.
4:30- LeBron again straight to the basket, and gets fouled, but clanks the free throw. Missed free throws left and right so far for the USA. Now a little scuffle! Maybe it's just me, but I wouldn't pick a fight with LeBron. Melo tosses in a couple free throws, 45-36.
3:35- Kobe... and one! Or not, because we missed another fucking free throw! 9-18 from the fucking line. I can shoot that after 9 beers. 47-40.
2:00- A Tayshaun Prince sighting... and he immediately comes in and bricks a free throw. How pathetic is this? Hits the 2nd though, 48-40.
1:30- We're something like 2 of 12 from 3-point range, to go with the great free throw shooting. Now Deron Williams has all day to shoot from behind the arc, another brick.
End of the half: Huge 3 at the buzzer from Deron Williams! 55-43 USA. This could be a lot closer. The USA is certainly not playing their best game, but Australia's blown their fair share of opportunites as well. Should be a kickass 2nd half.
A couple halftime notes... LeBron and Melo each have a game-high 12 points. The USA is destroying Australia on the boards, with 32 rebounds compared to 14.
9:30- Kobe from way downtown, 58-43. Now Melo for 3. Here we go bitch! Let's destroy these fuckers! 61-43.
8:30- LeBron with the hustle play of the tournament, on his 4th steal of the game. Kobe gets fouled, splits the free throws. For chrissakes can anybody make 2 damn free throws in a row? Is that too much to ask? 62-43.
7:30- Kobe dicks around in the lane, eventually gets a fancy layup and draws the foul. In my best Bill Walton voice, "AND THE ROUT IS ON!" Kobe misses the free throw. This is piss poor. Thankfully they're still up 23...
6:30- Kobe for 3. It's 14-0 USA to start the 2nd half. They look like a completely different team, aside from, you know, making those tough free throws.
5:35- LeBron another offensive board, we're winning 17-2 in that category. He then puts in a layup, and is fouled, but guess what, misses the free throw! 71-48 red white and blue.
4:00- Andrew Bogut has a foot or ankle injury. I'm sure those Bucks diehards aren't liking this. Is there even a single Bucks fan out there? I've never seen one.
2:56- Dwyane Wade doing his best Pete Maravich impression with an incredible pass to Chris Bosh. It looks like Coach K's going to let Tayshaun Prince and company get most of the playing time to close out this blowout. 30 point lead.
End of 3rd quarter- 89-53, or something like that. It's a lot. Yawn.
7:30- Kobe hits one from the Great Wall. By the way, how much must it piss Craig Sager off that he can't wear one of his crazy suits? NBC's making him wear a polo shirt. I'm just waiting for him to say "fuck this", and show up for the next game in a pink suit and neon green tie.
5:00- Michael Redd for 3! I'm not gonna lie, I completely forgot he was on the team. 106-78.
The End: 116-85. Great game for the USA. Started out ugly, and the free throw shooting was putrid to say the least. But, the defense is just too damn good, and this team is too damn fast. They continue to create turnovers, and when they do, nobody can catch them on the fast break.
I've gotta say... I can't see this team losing. I hate saying that, but I really can't see it happening. Shit, I can't see them winning by less than 10.
We haven't seen Argentina play them yet, but Argentina's age has shown in the games I've watched thus far. They don't seem to have the same tenacity that drove teams nuts in previous years. They look old, slow, etc. We'll see though, and Argentina would be the next opponent, unless they can't beat Greece.
Update: I didn't see the game, but Argentina apparently beat Greece... but only by 2. Greece apparently had a game-winning attempt from behind the arc rim out. So the USA will take on Argentina next.