Graney: Team USA rinses bad taste with blowout of Argentina

2 weeks ago 7
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Last rights for Team USA hoops haven’t been recited.

Pump the brakes connected ordering a headstone.

The Americans yet posted a effect connected the ledger’s affirmative broadside Wednesday, beating Argentina 108-80 successful the 3rd of 5 accumulation games astatine Michelob Ultra Arena earlier the squad departs for the Tokyo Games.

The triumph didn’t wholly erase consecutive defeats to Nigeria and Australia — I mean, what could? — but astatine slightest for an day produced bully karma for a U.S. broadside that hasn’t been overflowing with immoderate lately.

“Our biggest happening is that we person to recognize this isn’t the NBA,” said U.S. defender Bradley Beal, who scored 17 points connected 5-of-8 shooting. “It’s much physical. Guys are smarter. They person the acquisition and chemistry we’re trying to make successful a abbreviated play of time.

“A consciousness of urgency is what we’re preaching, but, astatine the aforesaid time, we person to get amended each azygous day. That’s however we’re taking it. Today we got better.”

Cry for maine …

Now, this was hardly the Golden Generation of Argentina basketball.

Forget astir Eva Peron. If determination are immoderate tears being shed southbound of the equator, it’s for however Argentina has mislaid a measurement aft securing its spot for truthful agelong arsenic the champion nationalist squad its portion of the satellite offered.

But nary of that mattered to the Americans. Not aft however this accumulation docket began, sending media and fans alike to each points of probe and conjecture astir what is incorrect with the U.S. broadside and if it has immoderate accidental to triumph a 4th consecutive Olympic golden medal. It does. Still a bully one.

The cliche has yet travel to fruition. After years of proceeding the remainder of the satellite was catching up to Team USA, it’s much and much factual.

What it means: Even erstwhile the Americans don’t nonstop a squad of their implicit champion NBA players to an Olympics — and they won’t to Tokyo — they’ll inactive person the astir talented roster. They should inactive seizure gold.

It conscionable becomes harder to bash so.

Team USA manager Gregg Popovich was mistaken erstwhile disagreeing with a newsman Monday astir however ascendant the programme has been. Since the archetypal Dream Team swallowed its contention full successful 1992, the Americans person won by an mean of 20 points oregon much successful each but 2 planetary competitions.

Popovich’s mathematics needs work, but he’s close successful that this latest mentation won’t tally done Tokyo.

We’re a beingness from opposing players asking for pictures and autographs from U.S. players erstwhile beaten down by them. For truthful long, those connected different nationalist teams said they had the quality to bushed the Americans but ne'er truly believed it.

They bash now. They have.

“We picked these guys for a reason,” Popovich said of his team. “We person guys consenting to sacrifice for teammates and to get implicit themselves and respect that the feline to their close and near are conscionable arsenic talented. We’re trying to bash our champion to travel unneurotic arsenic a group. This crippled was better. We’re going to proceed to enactment similar we request to.”

They were motivated Tuesday. Probably had heard often successful the erstwhile 72 hours oregon truthful however disjointed they appeared. How they person acold excessively galore scorer-first guards and nary existent playmaker. How undersized they are. How determination were much misses than hits from those who built the roster.

Could beryllium worse

The Americans really over-passed aboriginal against Argentina, arsenic if to unit the contented of making plays for others. It led to sloppy play astatine times. But lone winning mattered for the U.S.

That was a atrocious sensation to escaped themselves of.

Look. Things ever tin beryllium worse. The U.S. didn’t adjacent suffice a men’s squad successful three-on-three for Tokyo. The Americans were eliminated successful qualifying by the Netherlands, which I’m reasonably definite won with athletes borrowed from its soccer, volleyball and cycling teams.

The Netherlands person ne'er qualified five-on-five, truthful determination is simply a agleam broadside to each this sky-is-falling sentiment successful respect to Popovich’s side.

It can’t perchance suffer to the Dutch.

Onward and upward.

Ed Graney is simply a Sigma Delta Chi Award victor for sports file penning and tin beryllium reached astatine oregon 702-383-4618. He tin beryllium heard connected “The Press Box,” ESPN Radio 100.9 FM and 1100 AM, from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Monday done Friday. Follow @edgraney connected Twitter.

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