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Half Time: 44-33 Greece

Much better quarter from greece. Theyre defending better and there also getting more open looks. The problem still has to be the 3 balls. Germany are loving the 3 balls. Its what there doing possession after possession.Lets see how it goes from here.

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Greece looking good at the half winning 44-33 vs. Germany.

Definitely agree with allowing too many 3 pointers. If it wasn't for all those 3's we could be winning by 20 at the half.

That's alright though, I'll take a 11 point lead. Let's double it, I want to win by at least 20 for confidence sake.

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So frustrating the way Spain owns us, I agree, they are flat out a better team, cooler shooters and better defense, and many weapons. I really hope we don't have to meet them in the knock-out rounds, or if we do, only if we kick it up a notch like the Euro semis last year when we almost pulled it off.

Still, I think we can beat the USA. And as loup puts it any team in the other pool is gonna be almost equally tough, they're all quality.

Thanks for the CBC streaming link, glad we can watch the Germany game. I think the Greece-USA one will be on TV.

so what you're saying is that Spain is a better team than the US?
I think Spain can beat USA. I also think they're better as a 'team'. I think USA is fragile, if things start not to go their way, nerves can set in and they can collapse, in any given game against the quality European teams, not so much against Argentina I think.

Even against China, tied 29-29 so late in the 2nd quarter, then a dumb palming turnover by the Chinese guard. It took the Americans a while before putting the contest to rest, and China is not strong. A team like Greece, or Spain or Lithuania hanging around within striking distance for 25-30 minutes, look out.

Love em or hate em, Spain is solid, with very few, if any weaknesses, unless their constant diving and whining gets them off their own game, but it never seems to, with the exception perhaps of last year's Euro final vs. Russia, and even then, they lost only at the very end.

I still like Greece's chances, but if we meet Spain along the way, we'll need a near-perfect game to beat them. Vs. USA, I don't think we need to be perfect, a few timely steals and blocks out of nowhere (which we are very wily and capable enough to execute) and the nerves set in on the US side.

Is it just me or did yesterday's victory vs. China not look particularly enjoyable to the 'world's best player'? Can it be he didn't like lessers like Wade and Howard, or even King James stealing his spotlight?

How and why do you think Spain can beat this US side when they couldn't beat a US B Team last time they played?

I understand anything can happen in a one game knockout, but based on overall quality, US is in a different league.

Let me put it to you this way-outside of POSSIBLY Pau Gasol, there isn't one single Spanish starter that can start for the US.

I don't know anything about basketball so I'm not saying Spain is better, in fact I think, from I've seen, the US is better. However, this point doesn't mean anything.

In football, apart from Modric and possibly Corluka, not one Croatian player would get into the England team. But an argument could easily be made to say that Croatia are better than England. Again this is not necessarily my opinion, but an argument could be made. Basketball is a team sport.

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Hey everyone, I'm new here, been reading these forums for a while and thought I'd finally jump in. Big basketball fan here, read some interesting things in these discussions, and I'll reply to some points I've read (and please excuse me in advance for the long post...there's lots to discuss!):

Re: Spain

Spain is a better team than Greece, but I do not feel the difference is as vast as it appears. Greece's results against Spain recently reminds me of how Greece just could not beat Serbia in the 90's, even in close games. However, I do feel that if Greece plays at the top of its game, it can beat Spain just as it beat the US in '06. Greece was very close last year in the Euros versus Spain in the semifinal, on their home court no less, and with fewer than 24 hours rest after that huge comeback against Slovenia, whereas Spain had taken advantage of the schedule-makers home cooking and had much more time off leading up to that game. Despite that, the margin was 5, and there were questionable calls against Greece as well.

Regarding the USA and points made by AEK and Kolokotronis:

I don't think watching NBA games serves as a very good gauge for the quality of Team USA. NBA rules are far different than international rules, and as someone who has followed the NBA for close to two decades, I can honestly say that the caliber of play in the NBA has been dropping in recent years, especially as far as fundamental team basketball is concerned...and fundamental team basketball is what wins games in FIBA competition. Likewise, I don't think merely stacking the roster with all stars necessarily means that Team USA will run away with the gold. Their loss against us in 2006 was just the latest in a string of recent failures...bronze in 2004, 6th place in 2002 in Indianapolis, and being a three-pointer away from not making it to the gold medal match in 2000.

It's a bit contradictory to say that the USA has enough talent to make three or four national teams that would be the best in the world, then to brush off Team USA's failures in the past three (almost four) international competitions as merely being the result of the best players not being there. Those teams were all loaded with quality players. Tim Duncan was on the team in 2004, so was Iverson (who still plays at a very high caliber in the NBA), so was Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James (who were also prominent on the 2006 team), Dwayne Wade (2006 Finals MVP)....this is major talent. And they finished 3rd, and were probably a bit lucky to do so.

The 2002 team had Paul Pierce (2008 Finals MVP), Ray Allen, Reggie Miller, Elton Brand, Ben Wallace (NBA Defensive Player of the Year several times), all top-notch players. They were on their home floor. And they finished 6th....including a loss to Spain in the 5th place game (since I saw Spain vs. USA matchups discussed, I thought that should be pointed out).

Ultimately, what matters is who is the best TEAM, not the best collection of individual talent. No one in their right mind would say that Team USA doesn't have the best individual talent, but in recent years, they have not had the best team. The addition of Kobe Bryant to this year's team is absolutely meaningless until they prove, on the court, that they are this year's gold medalists. And honestly, I'm not too optimistic about Bryant. He might just be the world's most overrated athlete in any sport. Where has he been in the truly big moments in the NBA? He was average at best in this year's finals versus the Celtics. He didn't do much for the Lakers when they were blown out by the Pistons in the 2004 Finals, and who can forget him scoring 0 points in the second half in the deciding Game 7 versus the Suns in the 2005 Playoffs, a series the Lakers ultimately lost 4-3 after leading 3-1. In the truly big moments and without someone like a Shaquille O'Neal in his prime to carry the load...Kobe has vanished.

Don't get me wrong, Team USA is still a favorite for the gold medal, but they are just one of a few favorites. Who cares if they beat China by 31? Greece beat China by that exact same margin in the 2006 Worlds. China, outside of Yao Ming, is just not a strong team at all, and I wouldn't draw any conclusions from any of the top teams, Team USA included, beating them handily. And who cares if Team USA had blowouts against Russia and Lithuania in the friendly matches? In 2004, they blew out Puerto Rico in an exhibition match before the Olympics. In the Olympics, Puerto Rico turned around and embarrassed them by 19. Friendly matches are meaningless, and if we insist on getting something out of them, let's also point out the trouble Team USA had against Australia, a far inferior team to both Lithuania and Russia.

Basketball is a game where anything can happen and my point is, Team USA's talent alone is not enough. Losing to teams like Greece, Spain, Argentina, Italy, Lithuania, Serbia and even Puerto Rico in the past few years is not a fluke. A fluke happens once....Team USA has failed in the past three competitions. Before we automatically annoint them the gold, they need to prove it, right up to the final match. They certainly can do it, but it remains to be seen if they will do it.

In the first game, Greece had no answer for Spain's pressing defense, and was completely dominated under the basket. I don't remember how many second-chance points Spain got. At the same time, Spain was able to draw a lot of fouls and shot with a high percentage from the free throw line. Despite that, Greece could have kept it much closer if they were more accurate from the free throw line (awful versus Spain, much improved tonight versus Germany), and if they avoided numerous dumb mistakes which weren't even the result of Spain's defense....like several instances where Spanoulis just dribbled the ball off his foot. Also, when they broke free of Spain's press and managed to get open shots, they just couldn't hit them. But...if Spain and Greece meet again, anything could happen. Those open shots could go in. Those free throws could be more accurate. The ball handling might be more careful, more controlled. If Greece can beat Team USA, they can beat Spain.

I won't take too much out of Greece beating Germany...we own them much as Spain has owned us in the past couple of years, and Dirk always seems to disappear against us. Despite that, Germany is not a team to underestimate and I expected us to come back with a stronger performance. And despite the blowout, there were still flaws in Greece's game. The offense did stagnate at times. Germany did have many open looks for three point shots, which briefly gave them the lead early on. There's room for improvement, which I consider a good sign, because it means that we haven't necessarily seen the best of Greece yet.

Now, versus Team USA....of course Team USA is the favorite. But they are not invincible. Let's not forget that we also came close to beating them in 2004, coming down to the final minute, with a far inferior NT to the current squad or the 2006 squad. But even if Greece loses, by a small or a large margin, the easier portion of the schedule follows, versus China and Angola. As has been pointed out, finishing 1-4 in the group barely matters, and I'd rather see Greece's poor performances come early, than come in the knockout matches, where anything can happen. I do feel Greece is capable of beating any of the four favorites from the other group...Lithuania, Russia, Croatia and Argentina, though my least preferred matchup would be Lithuania...they seem to have our number in recent years, much like Spain. Russia lost today against Croatia, and we came close to beating Argentina in 2004 as well...another game that came down to the final minute.

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^^

Thank you PurelyAcademic, for your effort and time to post. :tup:

China is looking good in the first so far...vs Spain, 46-37

I just had this thought:

I am not sure we want to get 3rd place (B3), in our group. If we beat A2 in the QF then we play B1 (USA) in the semis...

Group A is very fluid still, and the top two spots could go to Croatia, Russia, Lithuania, Argentina. The difference between them is relatively small. If we can beat A2 we should be able to beat A1 also. In that scenario we would face B2 (Spain?) in the semis. It may be worth it to risk playing the first team from group A in order to avoid the USA, later on. Of course there is still a chance for 2ND, if China beats Spain and we beat China...Second place (B2) is the best way to the final !

PEACE

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^^

Thank you PurelyAcademic, for your effort and time to post. :tup:

China is looking good in the first so far...vs Spain, 46-37

I just had this thought:

I am not sure we want to get 3rd place (B3), in our group. If we beat A2 in the QF then we play B1 (USA) in the semis...

Group A is very fluid still, and the top two spots could go to Croatia, Russia, Lithuania, Argentina. The difference between them is relatively small. If we can beat A2 we should be able to beat A1 also. In that scenario we would face B2 (Spain?) in the semis. It may be worth it to risk playing the first team from group A in order to avoid the USA, later on. Of course there is still a chance for 2ND, if China beats Spain and we beat China...Second place (B2) is the best way to the final !

PEACE

Trifili, you make a good point about the possible matchups down the road, though I think they shouldn't really worry about that yet! I would personally be very happy to make it to the semis, and then whatever happens, happens! And in a way, I would not mind seeing Team USA in the semis. They are going to have a TON of pressure on them to exorcise the demons and make it to the final. A crafty, hard-nosed team like Greece is just the team that could take a match like that. I'd actually like our chances more versus the USA in the semis, than two days from now (I'm expecting a USA win, not a blowout, but no result would surprise me).

Additionally, if Team USA happens to lose to us, or to Spain (or, somehow, to both!) that would completely skew the potential matchups in the medal rounds....so again, too early to tell.

China is still ahead in the third quarter against Spain, 52-37...quite a surprise! If Spain does end up losing, that also will completely skew the picture as far as the standings in our group. I think we should brace for a verrrry interesting tournament :)

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Spain ended up winning, 85-75, in overtime. Honestly it was far, far tougher than the final score indicates. China led 72-70 in regulation but lost the ball on their final possession, which gave Spain the opportunity to tie, which they did. Early in overtime, China lost Yao Ming to five fouls, and after that it was pretty much downhill for China, although they kept it within four up to the final minute.

Spain was behind by double digits until a few minutes into the fourth quarter, but their pressing defense finally began to rattle China, who began to turn the ball over. Spain also took advantage of Yao Ming being in foul trouble (four fouls at the time) to pound the ball inside to the Gasol brothers. However, their offense was pretty inept in the final two minutes of regulation, and they gave China a few opportunities to win. In the possession prior to China's turnover and Spain's score to tie the game, China had two opportunities to go ahead by four, but did not convert.

China has proven that it has improved greatly from past years, though in the big moments they did make mistakes which cost them the game. More importantly, Spain proved that it is not the invincible powerhouse so many people are making them out to be. Their win today was as much due to China's inexperience down the stretch as it was to their strength, as they missed shots left and right down the stretch as well, but took advantage of Yao's absence in overtime to grab offensive rebounds until they finally scored.

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So frustrating the way Spain owns us, I agree, they are flat out a better team, cooler shooters and better defense, and many weapons. I really hope we don't have to meet them in the knock-out rounds, or if we do, only if we kick it up a notch like the Euro semis last year when we almost pulled it off.

Still, I think we can beat the USA. And as loup puts it any team in the other pool is gonna be almost equally tough, they're all quality.

Thanks for the CBC streaming link, glad we can watch the Germany game. I think the Greece-USA one will be on TV.

so what you're saying is that Spain is a better team than the US?
I think Spain can beat USA. I also think they're better as a 'team'. I think USA is fragile, if things start not to go their way, nerves can set in and they can collapse, in any given game against the quality European teams, not so much against Argentina I think.

Even against China, tied 29-29 so late in the 2nd quarter, then a dumb palming turnover by the Chinese guard. It took the Americans a while before putting the contest to rest, and China is not strong. A team like Greece, or Spain or Lithuania hanging around within striking distance for 25-30 minutes, look out.

Love em or hate em, Spain is solid, with very few, if any weaknesses, unless their constant diving and whining gets them off their own game, but it never seems to, with the exception perhaps of last year's Euro final vs. Russia, and even then, they lost only at the very end.

I still like Greece's chances, but if we meet Spain along the way, we'll need a near-perfect game to beat them. Vs. USA, I don't think we need to be perfect, a few timely steals and blocks out of nowhere (which we are very wily and capable enough to execute) and the nerves set in on the US side.

Is it just me or did yesterday's victory vs. China not look particularly enjoyable to the 'world's best player'? Can it be he didn't like lessers like Wade and Howard, or even King James stealing his spotlight?

How and why do you think Spain can beat this US side when they couldn't beat a US B Team last time they played?

I understand anything can happen in a one game knockout, but based on overall quality, US is in a different league.

Let me put it to you this way-outside of POSSIBLY Pau Gasol, there isn't one single Spanish starter that can start for the US.

I don't know anything about basketball so I'm not saying Spain is better, in fact I think, from I've seen, the US is better. However, this point doesn't mean anything.

In football, apart from Modric and possibly Corluka, not one Croatian player would get into the England team. But an argument could easily be made to say that Croatia are better than England. Again this is not necessarily my opinion, but an argument could be made. Basketball is a team sport.

But in a 5 man game like basketball, it makes all the difference in the world.
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Re: Spain

Spain is a better team than Greece, but I do not feel the difference is as vast as it appears. Greece's results against Spain recently reminds me of how Greece just could not beat Serbia in the 90's, even in close games. However, I do feel that if Greece plays at the top of its game, it can beat Spain just as it beat the US in '06. Greece was very close last year in the Euros versus Spain in the semifinal, on their home court no less, and with fewer than 24 hours rest after that huge comeback against Slovenia, whereas Spain had taken advantage of the schedule-makers home cooking and had much more time off leading up to that game. Despite that, the margin was 5, and there were questionable calls against Greece as well.

So what happened the 3 other times we've played them in our last four meetings?

One game I can see, but you're completely disregarding 3 other losses by anaverage of 18+ points.

Home cooking there too? Bad calls in those games also?

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I don't think watching NBA games serves as a very good gauge for the quality of Team USA. NBA rules are far different than international rules, and as someone who has followed the NBA for close to two decades, I can honestly say that the caliber of play in the NBA has been dropping in recent years, especially as far as fundamental team basketball is concerned...and fundamental team basketball is what wins games in FIBA competition. Likewise, I don't think merely stacking the roster with all stars necessarily means that Team USA will run away with the gold. Their loss against us in 2006 was just the latest in a string of recent failures...bronze in 2004, 6th place in 2002 in Indianapolis, and being a three-pointer away from not making it to the gold medal match in 2000.

Well, I've watched the NBA for over THREE decades, and have had the opportunity to observe the best club basketball team to have ever played the game, the Chicago Bulls, up close and personal. So what?

I don't know if the overall quality of the NBA has declined as much as expansion has diluted the talent pool. True, the golden generation of the Dream Team '92 has not been replicated, but that was the best EVER era of NBA hoops.

The fundamentals have really not dropped that much. What has happened is the rest of the world has closed the talent gap to the point where the differences in the FIBA game, and not talent, are the determining factors in international competitions involving the US. The "fundamentals" required to play NBA ball are a bit different than the "fundamentals" needed to play FIBA. You're talking about two different games. Like comparing baseball to softball.

case in point, 3 point shooting. 3 point shooting in the FIBA game is a fundamental concept in virtually every teams offense. Not so in the NBA, where it is a much lower percentage shot. As a result, the NBA doesn't produce as many quality three point shooters as FIBA. If you look at the '92 Olympic Dream Team, there was only one good 3 point shooter amongst their starters, Larry Bird. Yet they won going away simply because they were so much more talented than anyone else. Not the case now, where virtually every top tier FIBA team has at least 3-4 guys capable of being NBA rotation guys.

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Kolokotronis, I may be new here, but you seem to be coming across quite negatively in your posts.

My point was that we have come close to beating Spain recently...very recently in fact. The semifinal last year could have gone either way. And yes, the officiating was bad, don't deny it because it's inconvenient for your argument. And yes, Spain did have far more rest than Greece did coming into that game too. That also cannot be denied.

The final in '06...well, we followed up the game of our lives with a horrible offensive showing. Nothing was going in. Our defense was actually not terrible...we held Spain, normally a robust offensive team, to only 70. It's just that we couldn't hit the side of the wall. Spain also rallied around Pau Gasol's injury. It may sound like an excuse, call it one if you wish, but it reminds me of similar things I've seen happen all the time in basketball...the star player goes down and the rest of the team steps it up and plays inspired ball and wins the big game. One of the more famous stories was back in the 1970 NBA Finals, Knicks vs. Lakers, where with the Knicks trailing in Game 5 at home, star center Willis Reed went down and did not return. The Knicks played without a center against Wilt Chamberlain's Lakers, came back and won, took the series to 7, and with a gimpy Reed in Game 7, blew the Lakers out for the title.

Then there was the atrocious loss to Spain last year in the Eurobasket in the opening rounds. Bad showing, nothing more to say there.

This year, keep in mind a few things:

We lost by 15, but the margin was really 12, plus a three pointer that Spain threw up at the final buzzer, which by the way was extremely unsportsmanlike. They could have dribbled the ball out, like most teams do (and like we did against Germany tonight), but no, they had to pump up the score some more. Don't think that went unnoticed by the Greek team.

Second, the game was close in the first half, and in fact, looking at the quarter-by-quarter breakdowns, the third quarter was the only one where we were not competitive, and it was enough for Spain. But Greece's free throw shooting was atrocious (it won't always be that bad), Greece missed open shots continuously when they did manage to break Spain's press (that won't always happen)....and if some more of those free throws went in, even a few of those open shots, particularly in the third quarter, that would have stemmed the tide. I'm not saying we would have won, but it would have been a close, competitive game, and as the Ethniki has shown, when the game is close, they can make anything happen.

I would not be surprised, should we meet again, for the game to be very close and to go down to the final minute, and if that happens, my money is not Greece...not because I am a homer, but because I trust our team more in a tight situation in the closing seconds. We've proven it before. I do not think we will see another +15 or more blowout, and I am sure that Yiannakis and the team will review the tape of tonight's Spain-China matchup carefully. Spain proved once again that it is not invincible, and if China can almost do it, we can most definitely do it.

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So frustrating the way Spain owns us, I agree, they are flat out a better team, cooler shooters and better defense, and many weapons. I really hope we don't have to meet them in the knock-out rounds, or if we do, only if we kick it up a notch like the Euro semis last year when we almost pulled it off.

Still, I think we can beat the USA. And as loup puts it any team in the other pool is gonna be almost equally tough, they're all quality.

Thanks for the CBC streaming link, glad we can watch the Germany game. I think the Greece-USA one will be on TV.

so what you're saying is that Spain is a better team than the US?
I think Spain can beat USA. I also think they're better as a 'team'. I think USA is fragile, if things start not to go their way, nerves can set in and they can collapse, in any given game against the quality European teams, not so much against Argentina I think.

Even against China, tied 29-29 so late in the 2nd quarter, then a dumb palming turnover by the Chinese guard. It took the Americans a while before putting the contest to rest, and China is not strong. A team like Greece, or Spain or Lithuania hanging around within striking distance for 25-30 minutes, look out.

Love em or hate em, Spain is solid, with very few, if any weaknesses, unless their constant diving and whining gets them off their own game, but it never seems to, with the exception perhaps of last year's Euro final vs. Russia, and even then, they lost only at the very end.

I still like Greece's chances, but if we meet Spain along the way, we'll need a near-perfect game to beat them. Vs. USA, I don't think we need to be perfect, a few timely steals and blocks out of nowhere (which we are very wily and capable enough to execute) and the nerves set in on the US side.

Is it just me or did yesterday's victory vs. China not look particularly enjoyable to the 'world's best player'? Can it be he didn't like lessers like Wade and Howard, or even King James stealing his spotlight?

How and why do you think Spain can beat this US side when they couldn't beat a US B Team last time they played?

I understand anything can happen in a one game knockout, but based on overall quality, US is in a different league.

Let me put it to you this way-outside of POSSIBLY Pau Gasol, there isn't one single Spanish starter that can start for the US.

I don't know anything about basketball so I'm not saying Spain is better, in fact I think, from I've seen, the US is better. However, this point doesn't mean anything.

In football, apart from Modric and possibly Corluka, not one Croatian player would get into the England team. But an argument could easily be made to say that Croatia are better than England. Again this is not necessarily my opinion, but an argument could be made. Basketball is a team sport.

But in a 5 man game like basketball, it makes all the difference in the world.
Yes I suppose so. To be honest, from the games I've seen Greece do not look like an elite basketball team to me. Our chances of getting a medal seem low. Like I said, I don't know much about basketball so I'm not being insistant. But I always watch the major tournaments, and judging from what I have seen based on my limited knowledge Spain seem to be much better than us. Our free throws are crap, our 3 pointers aren't too good either. Also, we seem to be too immobile in attacking positions.
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It's a bit contradictory to say that the USA has enough talent to make three or four national teams that would be the best in the world, then to brush off Team USA's failures in the past three (almost four) international competitions as merely being the result of the best players not being there. Those teams were all loaded with quality players. Tim Duncan was on the team in 2004, so was Iverson (who still plays at a very high caliber in the NBA), so was Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James (who were also prominent on the 2006 team), Dwayne Wade (2006 Finals MVP)....this is major talent. And they finished 3rd, and were probably a bit lucky to do so.

What kind of nonsense is this? How were they "lucky" to finished third? They blew out Argentina in the third place game and everyone else they played but Greece.

Maybe they were a bit "unlucky" with their abysmal defensive performance against Greece? Or is that out of the realm of possibility? Everyone can have a bad game, except the US?

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Well, I've watched the NBA for over THREE decades, and have had the opportunity to observe the best club basketball team to have ever played the game, the Chicago Bulls, up close and personal. So what?

I don't know if the overall quality of the NBA has declined as much as expansion has diluted the talent pool. True, the golden generation of the Dream Team '92 has not been replicated, but that was the best EVER era of NBA hoops.

The fundamentals have really not dropped that much. What has happened is the rest of the world has closed the talent gap to the point where the differences in the FIBA game, and not talent, are the determining factors in international competitions involving the US. The "fundamentals" required to play NBA ball are a bit different than the "fundamentals" needed to play FIBA. You're talking about two different games. Like comparing baseball to softball.

case in point, 3 point shooting. 3 point shooting in the FIBA game is a fundamental concept in virtually every teams offense. Not so in the NBA, where it is a much lower percentage shot. As a result, the NBA doesn't produce as many quality three point shooters as FIBA. If you look at the '92 Olympic Dream Team, there was only one good 3 point shooter amongst their starters, Larry Bird. Yet they won going away simply because they were so much more talented than anyone else. Not the case now, where virtually every top tier FIBA team has at least 3-4 guys capable of being NBA rotation guys.

I wouldn't necessarily call the Bulls the best NBA club team...let's not forget the Celtics in the 60s, who won eight championships in a row in a league that featured only eight teams (which, in other words, means that each team was stacked, unlike the dilution of the talent pool today as you correctly pointed out).

I do beg to differ regarding fundamentals. I sometimes catch old NBA games on Youtube or on TV, and it amazes me that we just don't see much clean, textbook, basic basketball in the NBA anymore. Few teams utilize the pick-and-roll, which Greece used to kill Team USA in 2006. The mid-range jumper is a rarity nowadays, whereas in the 80s and previously, it would be an automatic basket if most players in the league were left open. NBA play nowadays seems to rely mostly on isolation, one-on-one plays, and only a few teams, like the Spurs, really seem to still play team-oriented basketball. The NBA has also changed the rules drastically in the past decade or so. These rule changes have really neutered defenses, and while zone defenses are allowed now, they are rarely utilized, which hurts Team USA internationally as they are not used to facing them (nor utilizing them on their team). I would argue that this has been a disadvantage for Team USA in international matches, as the top international teams like Spain and Greece play very tough defense that is increasingly becoming a rarity in the NBA due to the rule changes.

You are right that part of the smaller gap has to do with the different rules between the NBA and FIBA, however, that alone should not be enough, if you go purely based on a talent standpoint. And, in recent years, the three point shot has become much more of a weapon in the NBA, even though the NBA three is more distant from the FIBA three. Up to the 90s, I remember it being quite common for many teams to attempt less than five threes a game, but most NBA teams will shoot at least 15 or 20 nowadays. And that doesn't include those 20-23 foot jumpers that would internationally also be three pointers. If anything, Team USA should have an advantage here internationally, but they have not shown it in most competitions.

Edited by PurelyAcademic
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Kolokotronis, I may be new here, but you seem to be coming across quite negatively in your posts.

My point was that we have come close to beating Spain recently...very recently in fact. The semifinal last year could have gone either way. And yes, the officiating was bad, don't deny it because it's inconvenient for your argument. And yes, Spain did have far more rest than Greece did coming into that game too. That also cannot be denied.

The final in '06...well, we followed up the game of our lives with a horrible offensive showing. Nothing was going in. Our defense was actually not terrible...we held Spain, normally a robust offensive team, to only 70. It's just that we couldn't hit the side of the wall. Spain also rallied around Pau Gasol's injury. It may sound like an excuse, call it one if you wish, but it reminds me of similar things I've seen happen all the time in basketball...the star player goes down and the rest of the team steps it up and plays inspired ball and wins the big game. One of the more famous stories was back in the 1970 NBA Finals, Knicks vs. Lakers, where with the Knicks trailing in Game 5 at home, star center Willis Reed went down and did not return. The Knicks played without a center against Wilt Chamberlain's Lakers, came back and won, took the series to 7, and with a gimpy Reed in Game 7, blew the Lakers out for the title.

Then there was the atrocious loss to Spain last year in the Eurobasket in the opening rounds. Bad showing, nothing more to say there.

This year, keep in mind a few things:

We lost by 15, but the margin was really 12, plus a three pointer that Spain threw up at the final buzzer, which by the way was extremely unsportsmanlike. They could have dribbled the ball out, like most teams do (and like we did against Germany tonight), but no, they had to pump up the score some more. Don't think that went unnoticed by the Greek team.

Second, the game was close in the first half, and in fact, looking at the quarter-by-quarter breakdowns, the third quarter was the only one where we were not competitive, and it was enough for Spain. But Greece's free throw shooting was atrocious (it won't always be that bad), Greece missed open shots continuously when they did manage to break Spain's press (that won't always happen)....and if some more of those free throws went in, even a few of those open shots, particularly in the third quarter, that would have stemmed the tide. I'm not saying we would have won, but it would have been a close, competitive game, and as the Ethniki has shown, when the game is close, they can make anything happen.

I would not be surprised, should we meet again, for the game to be very close and to go down to the final minute, and if that happens, my money is not Greece...not because I am a homer, but because I trust our team more in a tight situation in the closing seconds. We've proven it before. I do not think we will see another +15 or more blowout, and I am sure that Yiannakis and the team will review the tape of tonight's Spain-China matchup carefully. Spain proved once again that it is not invincible, and if China can almost do it, we can most definitely do it.

Come on man, this is utter garbage.

If ifs and ands were pots and pans, the world would be a kitchen.

Spain could have drubbed us by 20+ if they didn't take the pedal off the metal in the last two three minutes.

The result was never in doubt.

I'm not being negative, just realistic. They've spanked us by an avg margin of 15+ the last four times they've played us.

You dismiss the other three games we've played against them to conveniently fit your argument. They beat us by 22, without their best player. How in God's name you can rationalize that is beyond me.

We lost by 15 but the marging was really 12? What the hell? Are you serious here? You're counting what happens in garbage time?

And so what if the Rubio kid hit a 3 at the end? He threw it up more as a half hearted desperation shot. Happens all the time. How is that unsporting, and who gives a rats ass? If we took notice, we should do something about it. We can't.

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I wouldn't necessarily call the Bulls the best NBA club team...let's not forget the Celtics in the 60s, who won eight championships in a row in a league that featured only eight teams (which, in other words, means that each team was stacked, unlike the dilution of the talent pool today as you correctly pointed out).

The Bulls were the best team ever. They won six of eight, and the only two they didn't were those in the middle without Jordan.

Absolutely unheard of in today's modern sports with free agency.

The talent level in the NBA in the 60's was NOWHERE near what it was during the Bulls era. No comparison. The Bulls teams of Jordans era would have anihialated the Celts.

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It's a bit contradictory to say that the USA has enough talent to make three or four national teams that would be the best in the world, then to brush off Team USA's failures in the past three (almost four) international competitions as merely being the result of the best players not being there.  Those teams were all loaded with quality players.  Tim Duncan was on the team in 2004, so was Iverson (who still plays at a very high caliber in the NBA), so was Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James (who were also prominent on the 2006 team), Dwayne Wade (2006 Finals MVP)....this is major talent.  And they finished 3rd, and were probably a bit lucky to do so.

What kind of nonsense is this? How were they "lucky" to finished third? They blew out Argentina in the third place game and everyone else they played but Greece.

Maybe they were a bit "unlucky" with their abysmal defensive performance against Greece? Or is that out of the realm of possibility? Everyone can have a bad game, except the US?

First off, they beat Lithuania in the third place game, not Argentina (they won the gold), and it was hardly a blowout. 104-96. In fact, you might even remember that Team USA forgot their uniforms at the cruise ship they were staying in, and Lithuania had the right to call for a forfeit, but didn't (good sportsmanship but cost them the bronze).

And I wouldn't say that they were unlucky with their "abysmal" defensive performance against Greece at all. Were they also unlucky against Puerto Rico, Serbia, Argentina, Italy and Lithuania, whom they also lost to since 2002? You may remember that they even led by double digits in the first half. They seem to have been taking the match seriously. They lost anyway. Hardly unlucky...an unlucky loss is, say, losing on the final possession, or due to an unfortunate call, or losing a key player due to injury during the game and playing shorthanded. The way they lost was surely none of those things.

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I do beg to differ regarding fundamentals. I sometimes catch old NBA games on Youtube or on TV, and it amazes me that we just don't see much clean, textbook, basic basketball in the NBA anymore. Few teams utilize the pick-and-roll, which Greece used to kill Team USA in 2006. The mid-range jumper is a rarity nowadays, whereas in the 80s and previously, it would be an automatic basket if most players in the league were left open. NBA play nowadays seems to rely mostly on isolation, one-on-one plays, and only a few teams, like the Spurs, really seem to still play team-oriented basketball. The NBA has also changed the rules drastically in the past decade or so. These rule changes have really neutered defenses, and while zone defenses are allowed now, they are rarely utilized, which hurts Team USA internationally as they are not used to facing them (nor utilizing them on their team). I would argue that this has been a disadvantage for Team USA in international matches, as the top international teams like Spain and Greece play very tough defense that is increasingly becoming a rarity in the NBA due to the rule changes.

Honestly, outside of it being your opinion, where do you get this stuff from?

The pick and roll has always been a part of the NBA. The US had a team that was disinterested in DEFENDING it, not executing it. And the US can't use the pick and roill against ZONE defenses.

Honestly, how much basketball do you watch? You expect a team to use the pick and roll against match up zones?

Mid range jump shooting is not a problem in the US. Three point shopoting is, where they're swapping their 15 footers worth two points for the FIBA's teams 22 footers that are worth 3 points.

What DRASTIC rule changes have you seen in the NBA? Honestly man, do you follow the NBA at all?

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It's a bit contradictory to say that the USA has enough talent to make three or four national teams that would be the best in the world, then to brush off Team USA's failures in the past three (almost four) international competitions as merely being the result of the best players not being there.

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I wouldn't necessarily call the Bulls the best NBA club team...let's not forget the Celtics in the 60s, who won eight championships in a row in a league that featured only eight teams (which, in other words, means that each team was stacked, unlike the dilution of the talent pool today as you correctly pointed out).

The Bulls were the best team ever. They won six of eight, and the only two they didn't were those in the middle without Jordan.

Absolutely unheard of in today's modern sports with free agency.

The talent level in the NBA in the 60's was NOWHERE near what it was during the Bulls era. No comparison. The Bulls teams of Jordans era would have anihialated the Celts.

You're contradicting yourself by citing, in one post, dilution of talent due to expansion, then citing the Bulls as the greatest team ever for winning six of eight titles in the "era of free agency."

Saying that the Bulls in the 90s or the Celtics in the 60s or anyone else were the best team ever is purely subjective, but it's a stretch to say that the Bulls of the 90s would have dominated the Celtics of the 60s, whose entire starting lineup is in the Hall of Fame. I would also beg to differ about the talent level. You seem to be mistaking athleticism with talent...certainly the athleticism of players in the 90s can't compare with those of the 60s or even 70s. But in terms of fundamentals, and understanding the concepts of basketball, I think the NBA of the 60s has the advantage. Look at Oscar Robertson, who averaged a triple-double...for an entire season! Look at Wilt Chamberlain, who averaged 50 points per game, for an entire season, or also led the league in assists one year, as a center! Those are incredible feats of talent that have not been repeated in the "modern" NBA as of yet.

Look at the rosters of most teams from the 60s. You'll see lots of hall of famers pop up on most teams. Talent was concentrated in eight franchises, instead of the 27-30 teams that the Bulls faced. And yet, they still managed to win eight straight championships and nine in ten years. That's absolutely incredible.

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It's a bit contradictory to say that the USA has enough talent to make three or four national teams that would be the best in the world, then to brush off Team USA's failures in the past three (almost four) international competitions as merely being the result of the best players not being there.

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I wouldn't necessarily call the Bulls the best NBA club team...let's not forget the Celtics in the 60s, who won eight championships in a row in a league that featured only eight teams (which, in other words, means that each team was stacked, unlike the dilution of the talent pool today as you correctly pointed out).

The Bulls were the best team ever. They won six of eight, and the only two they didn't were those in the middle without Jordan.

Absolutely unheard of in today's modern sports with free agency.

The talent level in the NBA in the 60's was NOWHERE near what it was during the Bulls era. No comparison. The Bulls teams of Jordans era would have anihialated the Celts.

You're contradicting yourself by citing, in one post, dilution of talent due to expansion, then citing the Bulls as the greatest team ever for winning six of eight titles in the "era of free agency."

Saying that the Bulls in the 90s or the Celtics in the 60s or anyone else were the best team ever is purely subjective, but it's a stretch to say that the Bulls of the 90s would have dominated the Celtics of the 60s, whose entire starting lineup is in the Hall of Fame. I would also beg to differ about the talent level. You seem to be mistaking athleticism with talent...certainly the athleticism of players in the 90s can't compare with those of the 60s or even 70s. But in terms of fundamentals, and understanding the concepts of basketball, I think the NBA of the 60s has the advantage. Look at Oscar Robertson, who averaged a triple-double...for an entire season! Look at Wilt Chamberlain, who averaged 50 points per game, for an entire season, or also led the league in assists one year, as a center! Those are incredible feats of talent that have not been repeated in the "modern" NBA as of yet.

Look at the rosters of most teams from the 60s. You'll see lots of hall of famers pop up on most teams. Talent was concentrated in eight franchises, instead of the 27-30 teams that the Bulls faced. And yet, they still managed to win eight straight championships and nine in ten years. That's absolutely incredible.

How the hell could the Bulls have made the Hall of Fame when they weren't eligible for it?

Of course the Hall of fame is stacked with guys from the 60's. They're older and were first in time.

The Bulls flat out were more talented all across the board, save for Bill Rusell. Guys like John Havlicek and Tom Heinsohn would have been role players, at best, on the Bulls.

Wilt Chamberlain a "fundamentaL" player? Are you smoking something this morning?

What about Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant, John Paxson, BJ Armstrong, etc... tells you they weren't "fundamental" players? What "fundamentals" were they lacking? For God's sake, Oscar Robertson played in an era comprised of slow stiff white guys. He couldnt hold Jordan's jock. Yet he's in the H of F fame because he was the best in his era.

tell me exactly when the celtics or Oscar Robertson played against the likes of Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Isaiah Thomas, Karl Malone, Akeem Olajuwon, etc....?

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Spain could have drubbed us by 20+ if they didn't take the pedal off the metal in the last two three minutes.

And we could have kept the game close if we didn't have such an unusually low percentage at the free throw line. Your point?

The result was never in doubt.

The game was close throughout the first half. Going into half down 6 points hardly means that the game is over.

I'm not being negative, just realistic. They've spanked us by an avg margin of 15+ the last four times they've played us.

You dismiss the other three games we've played against them to conveniently fit your argument. They beat us by 22, without their best player. How in God's name you can rationalize that is beyond me.

I didn't dismiss them at all. They beat us fair and square. However, I pointed out observations specifically about the WC '06 final, the Euro semifinal last year and the first match this year that you largely have ignored.

And so what if the Rubio kid hit a 3 at the end? He threw it up more as a half hearted desperation shot. Happens all the time. How is that unsporting, and who gives a rats ass? If we took notice, we should do something about it. We can't.

Desperation? Rubio nonchalantly shot the three, which was uncontested because the Greek players were expecting Spain to just run out the clock, and it went in. In the NBA, they call that "running up the score." There was honestly no reason for him to do it. Why didn't he let the clock run out? That would have been the sportsmanlike thing to do. Greece did it today against Germany. NBA teams do it all the time.

The pick and roll has always been a part of the NBA. The US had a team that was disinterested in DEFENDING it, not executing it. And the US can't use the pick and roill against ZONE defenses.

Yes, it has always been a part of the NBA, but teams seem to be utilizing it less and less effectively. And I pointed out the Greece vs. USA example to show that Greece, as a national team, still utilized this fundamental play to its fullest. It's becoming a lost art in the NBA. If you've been watching for three decades, as you insist, you will see how the NBA has turned into a one-on-one, isolation play league. Give the ball to your best player, clear out one side of the court, and watch him do his thing. This is far, far, far more common now than it even was in the 90s.

Mid range jump shooting is not a problem in the US. Three point shopoting is, where they're swapping their 15 footers worth two points for the FIBA's teams 22 footers that are worth 3 points.

Mid-range jump shooting is becoming more and more of a rarity in the NBA. Increasingly, teams opt for the three pointer rather than the easier 15-18 footer. Most offensive plays in the NBA seem to call either for an isolation and drive to the hoop, or a drive to the hoop and a pass back out for a three pointer. Very, very few plays are called for mid-range jumpers, and the accuracy of those jumpers seems to be falling as the years go by. Players like Tim Duncan, who do utilize the 15-18 foot jumper, are becoming less common in the NBA.

What DRASTIC rule changes have you seen in the NBA? Honestly man, do you follow the NBA at all?

I would have to say that you're the one that likely hasn't been following the NBA. Look at all the rule changes that have taken place specifically to make defenses less physical. Handchecking has been completely eliminated, for instance. How about the new flopping rule and the restricted area under the basket? Or the re-implementation of zone defenses? Elimination of illegal defense rules. Changing the time to bring the ball upcourt from 10 to 8 seconds. Moving the three point line to 22 feet and back out to 23 feet 9 inches. Here's a nice handy article describing some of the changes and their effect on the game: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/sports...kn/3949002.html.

I was talking about the worlds.

The '04 Olympic team has absolutely NOTHING in common with today's US Olympic team, hence the analogies and comparisons are irrelevenat.

I'm not sure what part of this team is nothing like the previous US NT you don't get?

And I was talking about the Olympics. And until Team USA proves it on the hardwood, you can't really say that they have nothing in common with the '04 team. If they fail, they will have much in common with that team, because in the end, it is results, and not talk, that matter. The '06 team also had little to do with the '04 team, and the '04 team had very, very little to do with the '02 team. Didn't make much of a difference in any of those cases.

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How the hell could the Bulls have made the Hall of Fame when they weren't eligible for it?

Of course the Hall of fame is stacked with guys from the 60's. They're older and were first in time.

The Bulls flat out were more talented all across the board, save for Bill Rusell. Guys like John Havlicek and Tom Heinsohn would have been role players, at best, on the Bulls.

Wilt Chamberlain a "fundamentaL" player? Are you smoking something this morning?

What about Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant, John Paxson, BJ Armstrong, etc... tells you they weren't "fundamental" players? What "fundamentals" were they lacking? For God's sake, Oscar Robertson played in an era comprised of slow stiff white guys. He couldnt hold Jordan's jock. Yet he's in the H of F fame because he was the best in his era.

tell me exactly when the celtics or Oscar Robertson played against the likes of Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Isaiah Thomas, Karl Malone, Akeem Olajuwon, etc....?

You like to put words in my mouth. The players in the 60s weren't in the hall of fame either. They became hall of famers once they retired. Looking at the Bulls team, other than Jordan and Pippen and *maybe* Rodman, I don't see any other hall of famers, but most other teams from that era will not have even one hall of famer, thanks to dilution and overexpansion of the NBA.

A good analogy, though, for the 90s is the NBA's list of the 50 greatest players of all time, released in 1996, which included many current players at the time, who surely will all make it to the Hall of Fame.

Guys like Havlicek and Heinsohn would have been far, far more than role players on the Bulls in the 90s, unless you're trying to tell me that the likes of Ron Harper, B.J. Armstrong, Bill Cartwright, Stacey King, Luc Longley, Steve Kerr, and Toni Kukoc are better than those hall of famers. Honestly, what are *you* smoking???

I also never said that Chamberlain specifically was a fundamental player. But you can't deny that he averaged 50 ppg for an entire season, or led the league in assists one year (I believe he's the only center to have done so in NBA history). I don't think there's any center in today's NBA that could come close to either accomplishment.

You are right that Jordan, Pippen, Rodman, Armstrong, etc. were fundamental players. Therein also lies one of the keys to the Bulls success. They actually had players with strong fundamentals who knew their roles. In the 1990s that was increasingly becoming less common in the NBA. Look at some recent NBA champions...the Spurs, the Pistons in '04....very fundamentally sound teams. Most teams in today's NBA, however, lack those fundamentals.

As for Oscar, you are way, way, way off. Again, going up night in and night out against the same 8 teams with stacked rosters, and still averaging a triple double? And look at some of his contemporaries...Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, Walt Frazier. HARDLY stiffs, and not all of them were white either!

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