Sunday, August 24, 2008

USA vs. Spain Live Blog: Gold Medal Edition

What's up guys, it is late as hell, but your faithful blogger Joe and my faithful assistant Jon are ready to live blog for you.  If you're out there.  At 2:30am.

There are two very different and distinct ways to go about predicting the outcome of this gold medal game.  Here they are:

1) You could take the stance that the game against Argentina highlighted the United States' weaknesses, and Spain has seen them and is ready to exploit them.  If Spain takes care of the ball and slows the game down, as Argentina did, they will have a chance to win.   
2)The second way to go think about the game is this: The U.S. saw it's weaknesses exposed as well.  And they have worked on them and have overcome them.  Also, the game could be looked at as a much-needed wake-up call.  The team had been playing in essentially exhibition games the entire Olympics, until last game.  That game woke them up, and they will come into this one ready for another one, which means it really won't be one at all.

I am, against what I've said all year, going with option number one.  Spain has good enough players to control the ball when they need to, and they will make it a close game, but the U.S. will eventually prevail.  Jon thinks the game will be a blowout.  He says they're too fired up to lose.

Ok, moment of truth.  Let's get it.

Opening U.S. possession: 3 by LeBron.

Opening Spanish possession: and 1 by Pau.  Oh boy.

8:58-Ricky Rubio is starting for Spain.  He is someone we have to take advantage of if we want to get fast break points.  He's inexperienced.

7:03-10-9, Spain.  They aren't letting us get on the break, and forcing us to take bad shots.

6:06-Great play by Rubio, slicing his way through J-Kidd and then Deron Williams for a layup.  Very nice.  Spain up by 4.

3:36-Good defensive position for the U.S. forcing Spain into bad shots and leading to a shot clock violation.  

2:12-Great fake pass to Bosh by Tay to a nice lefty floater.  Perhaps his best play of the Olympics.

1:26-Rubio gets called for the foul when he tries to draw a charge on D-Wade.  This reffing is terrible.  However, I do like the refs calling fouls on Spain when they try to flop.  They freaking deserve it.  Have I told you I hate flopping?

0:09-Big 3 by D-Wade to end the quarter.  We're up 7, and that's without Kobe or LeBron.  Before last game, I would have been very disappointed.  Now, I'm relatively content.  Spain's going to give us a game.

Alright, second quarter starting.  let's go.

9:46-Absolutely bush league elbow by Marc Gasol.  Looked like he was trying to take Melo's head off.  Ridiculous.  He should be scared.  He may be forgetting we have Dwight Howard on our team.

8:53-Mike Breen refers to one of the refs as a "Sting look-alike." 
Jon: "That's why they pay him the big bucks."

6:09-Little Flying Warrior update: great finish by Kobe on a fast break pass by Chris Paul.  The man can fly.  7-point game.  Ugh. 

5:26-LeBron James on a fast break: he just said "I'm bigger than you. I must break you." Related topic: Career-Ending Layup?  Possible?  

4:02-Huge 3 by LeBron to put us up by 14.  The U.S. is playing better

2:46-Amazing tip-in by Tay over Marc "The Bitch" Gasol.  Eat shit, Marc.  Quit trying to injure our players.  Just because you'll never be any good and you used to be a fatass doesn't mean you have to ruin somebody's career, somebody who actually has a future in basketball.

2:10-Dwayne Wade absolutely refuses to let this team lose.  Huge 3.  God.

1:50-Wow, huge answer 3 by Rudy Fernandez.  This guy is playing out of his mind.  He truly is a great shooter, and you can tell.  

0:31-The guy for Spain with "Berni" on his back is talking shit to Chris Paul.  He's just a joke.  What an idiot.

Halftime-Instead of blogging about various commercials this time, I'm real tired so I'm going to refuel.  We're up by 8.  I was right, at least so far.  If the U.S. doesn't play better D second half, the game will come down to the wire.  I hope not.

Ok, so I took a break during the third quarter.  The game was so close I couldn't bring myself to blog.  In fact, I told myself I would quit.  But then I said, would Team USA quit?  No.  So here I am, I'm back.  The fourth quarter is starting.  Let's go.

9:08-We have been just missing opportunities.  Deron Williams just missed a layup that would have put us up by 11.  Pathetic.

8:38-2-point game.  We are jacking up ill-advised 3's and we are paying for it.  Gotta regroup.

7:55-Amazing runner by Kobe.  

7:44-LeBron needs to play smart now.  He's got 4 fouls and we need him now more than ever.

7:18-Great fast-break pass by Kobe to Deron Williams, which he hits.  Big shot

6:38-After much bobbling, near-Career-Ender dunk-wise by Dwight.

5:46-Huge 3 by Kobe.  We're starting to get out on the fast break, playing a lot better. 

5:08-Career-Ending Dunk by Rudy Fernandez on Dwight Howard.  Have fun playing golf, Dwight.  Maybe you'll have better touch on the green than you do around the basket.  Shame on you.  By the way, Rudy is officially my favorite international player in the Olympics.  The dude just plays.  he doesn't flop, doesn't talk, he just flat-out balls.  Great player.  I mean, it takes major cajones to go for the dunk in that situation.  Very impressive.

3:42-HUGE 3 with the foul by Kobe.  Rudy fouls out and Kobe puts his finger to his lips.  I guess you don't win 3 titles by not hitting clutch shots.

2:35-Another huge 3 by Dwayne Wade after a 3 by Spain.  Regardless of what happens, this is one of the best basketball games I have ever seen.  We're up by 7.  Luckily.

1:52-Confusing foul call on Kobe.  The refs have been letting anything go for the past quarter, and all of a sudden a ticky-tack call.  Very weird.

1:28-Miss by Jiminez on a wide-open 3.  That may be the difference of the game.

0:47-Spain has started fouling.  We're up 8, in good position.  Plus, they fouled Chris Paul.  Out of anyone on our squad, not him.

0:26-Oh my God, Ricky Rubio just got a technical foul.  Pretty stupid.  Sigh...teenagers.  The lead is 10.  Looks like we're going to wrap this up.

End of the Game-The Redeem Team ends the game to chants of "U-S-A!  U-S-A!"  The team immediately goes over and hugs Doug Collins.  Coach K is drenched from water from Kobe's water bottle.  This was one of the greatest basketball-related experiences I have ever had.  The smiles these NBA millionaires are flashing are so gratifying.  This is why I love sports.  You don't get this anywhere else.  It is pure good.  

Spain put up an amazing fight, and more power to them.  They gave us a great game.  However, we were always the better team.  Notes: Kobe Bryant took over the game at the end, and he is the reason we won.  Wade, with 27, played amazing as well.  Anybody who still thinks the NBA has an image problem is crazy.  New respect for Doug Collins.  Great guy.  Touching sign-off by him.  

The Gold Medal is ours.  Great job, you guys.  We love you, and you represented the United States like champions and statesman, and you all should be proud.  Amazing.   

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