Team USA - 85, Germany - 65. You knew the US was going to go through a game where the shots weren't falling, every basketball team does eventually. These are the games they've lost in the past but there are two very key differences in this team than in the previous few versions of Team USA, both of which we've covered already but they both warrant mentioning again.
Defense. They're simply smothering the other team. This was the first one that they really needed this type of performance, and they got it. Up by 1 at half, they shut down the Germans in the third quarter and iced the game. No gambling, just a rock solid man to man with great help defense, almost like they're funneling guys to the shot blockers. Essentially they look like Duke, only with good athletes and not overly unlikeable, Cobra Kai types. This is still reason #1 why they are going to win this thing.
If that's reason #1, then 1A is Carmelo. I've said all I can say about the guy already, but this exchange says about all you need to know about what he means to the team:
"The Germans were still within a point before Anthony followed a 3-pointer with a steal a dunk. Elton Brand's follow shot made it 51-43 with 6:41 remaining in the period.
Okulaja made a jumper, but Anthony drilled another 3, Dwyane Wade made a free throw, Johnson had a basket and Chris Bosh converted a three-point play on an alley-oop that extended the Americans' lead to 60-45 with 1:53 left in the quarter."
The Greeks, defending European champs, are up next. Up next on the blog will be a report on that game and a rant about a certain college football team playing it's home games in Eugene. Stay tuned.