By Eduardo Maisonet, III / @edthesportsfan
For FOX Deportes
It’s an analogy I’ve heard pundits and prognosticators lean on all the time when analyzing a team’s chances in an upcoming game…
“If (insert favored team here) players their ‘A-Game’ then they’re sure to win.”
Other than being a lazy analysis, its also problematic to thoroughly comprehend what in the heck exactly is someone’s A-Game. It reminds me of when Bobby Knight used to talk about showing a “gameface” then making funny contortions of his face. Cracks me up every time.
You know what didn’t crack me up? USA’s offensive explosion on Nigeria, as their 156-73 victory was as preposterous as the final tally looks. Here’s “The Five” from Thursday’s trouncing.
1. That Might Be The Greatest Shooting Performance From A Team Ever: Sometimes there’s nothing that needs to be said. This is one of those times. I’ll just let the stats tell the story.
Team USA’s field goal shooting: 59-83 (71.1%)
Team USA’s three-point shooting: 29-46 (63.0%)
Team USA’s free-throw shooting: 9-14 (64.3%)
Only 9-14 free-throwing shooting? That’s just unacceptable USA. *kicks an empty soda can in anger*
2. Carmelo Anthony Was ‘En Fuego’ on Thursday: The performance Carmelo Anthony put on Thursday night was borderline hilarious along with breath-taking. If you’ve ever been hooping in the gym, you may occasionally catch fire and make a few shots in a row. If you’ve got teammates worth a damn, they should feed you the rock and let you keep rolling until you finally clank one. Most of the time, you’re feeling yourself so much that you’ll have what’s commonly called a “heat check” shot. A shot you really have no business taking, either because its not in the flow of the game or the degree of difficulty is extremely high.
Carmelo Anthony shot about 12 heat check shots against Nigeria, and they just kept going in. Pull up threes. Fast break threes. In-your-face threes. It was borderline ridiculous and was getting out of hand. Oh, and Melo’s new USA team record of 37 points came in under 15 minutes of play. Unreal.
3. James Harden’s Groin Might Be Sore: Yeah, Team USA won by a gazillion points, but damn James. Areyouokay, brother?
4. Anthony Davis Gets Paid In Alley-Oops, Evidently: Seriously, it seems like as soon as the man enters the game they’re throwing the man alley-oops like his life depended on it. I’m not complaining, but its both dope as hell that they want to feed the young man with highlight worthy alley-oops and cool that they’re taking him under their collective wing. A treat to watch indeed.
5. Coach K Doesn’t Like Your Questions, Bro: So yes, Team USA annihilated a Nigeria squad that had some NBA players and recognizable college names on the roster. (Can someone give Ike Diogu a job please? Dude balled.) However, when you take a L by 83 points, its hard to not consider the fact that the other team might have channeled their inner Steve Spurrier. Per theNYDailyNews, an interesting dialogue took place in the post-game press conference with the respective coaches and a reporter:
A foreign reporter initially asked Nigeria coach Ayodele Bakare if he felt the Americans were guilty of running up the score. Bakare, though, sounded more impressed than angry by what the NBA players had accomplished. Moments later, Mike Krzyzewski, unsolicited, addressed the topic, and called the question offensive.
“We didn’t play LeBron [James] and Kobe [Bryant] in the second half, and with Carmelo (Anthony) shooting like that, we benched him,” Krzyzewski said after Carmelo Anthony scored a U.S. Olympic record of 37 points in 14 minutes and 29 seconds. “We didn’t take any fast breaks in the fourth quarter, and we played all zone. You have to take a shot every 24 seconds, and the shots we took happened to be hit. “I take offense to this question because there’s no way in the world that our program in the United States sets out to humiliate anymore.”
Coach K then turn to Bakare and said: “Coach would think it humiliating if we didn’t play hard.”
Don’t ask Coach K about his team playing hard bro. Don’t do it. Realistically, the Americans were shooting ABSURD threes. I can’t even remember Team USA taking it to the rack that much in the second half, they were just out there shooting…and making everything. Can’t be mad at that.