Wednesday, 4 August 2004


I laughed as hard as anyone last year when the US basketball team finished 6th in the world championships, after losing to argentina, serbia & montenegro, and spain. Still, with a better team, you have to back them for the gold in Athens. They dusted off Puerto Rico, admittedly not a basketball powerhouse, in warmup games last week, and...

Wait right there. Last night they got thumped (anything about 15 points, including the 17 in this case, qualifies as thumped rather than beaten) 95-78 by an Italy that no-one has mentioned as a serious candidate for gold in Athens. Sure, the Italians got on a hot streak (15-35) from 3-point range, but the US dominated the boards 37-19. For those watching at home, that's almost double, and that a team can lose with so much more ball is almost incredible.

The following game is against a German team that may lack the depth of Italy (a depth that is certainly not lacking in the Argentinian, Serbian, and Lithuanian teams), but that does feature Dirk Nowitzki, who is perhaps better suited to the international game than much of the American squad.

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