Today I fully expected to wake up and see the results of a USA- Lithuania game that was close, I know it’s easy to say after the fact, but I did indeed expect that the US men’s team would struggle with Lithuania, and here’s why. If you watched any of the US game against Nigeria you would know that the US shot out of it’s mind. Carmelo Anthony couldn’t miss, and neither could any of his teammates. Team USA shot 71,1% from the field, 63,0% from three-point range, and shot two-pointers, discounting three’s, at a staggering 83%.
So, after looking at some of the amazing stats that the men’s basketball team put up, there was absolutely no way that the US could once again repeat, or even come close to those shooting percentages from the field. And, against Lithuania, they did not. The US only shot 44.3% from the field, and 30.3% from the three-point line, missing 16 of their first three point attempts.
Carmelo Anthony once again put up great stats 20 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists, but this time around the bench of Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love, Anthony Davis, Andre Iguodala, James Harden, and Deron Williams only accounted for 29 points, compared to the 67 they put up against Nigeria, (these bench numbers are discounting Carmelo Anthony’s production since he played similar to starter’s minutes in the last two games).
What I am trying to say is that one would have to expect that Team USA would come back down to earth, which is what they did against Lithuania. I am no way taking anything away from Lithuania, but if the US had shot anything close to what they did against Nigeria it’s safe to say they would have blown the doors off of Lithuania. So immediately after the game the overreaction by multiple media outlets claiming that this US team is no good, and that their chances for a gold are ruined because Lithuania has given other teams the blueprint to beating the US, are egregious.
Just after the game with Nigeria many people came out and wanted to re-ignite the chatter about who is better, the ’92 dream team, or this ’12 team. Then, once they suffer a close game, everyone goes berserk, immediately going into the, we knew this team sucked, mode. It amazes me how often these “major media networks” can flip-flop. One day a certain team, or player, is the greatest thing ever, the next they are horrible.
If you want to know what really happened in the USA vs. Lithuania game you need to stop being so over-reactionary, take a step back, and look at the game subjectively. Lithuania played well, but their basketball talent in no way matches the US’, and LeBron James epitomized this when, in the last few minutes, he scored 9 straight points and took back control of the game. With the way the US men’s team played they should have lost, Lithuania shot a considerably higher percentage from the field, and three-point line, 58.5%, and 43.8% respectively. They didn’t, though simply because the USA men’s basketball team is a better team, the best team in the world, and I don’t see anyone changing that.
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