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Old 09-01-2006, 09:15 AM   #1
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You Lika' The Juice, eh?

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SAITAMA, Japan -- Fed up with its recent failures, the United States assembled a new program with a new plan.

The end result was all too familiar.

Greece used a sizzling stretch of shooting across the middle two quarters to turn a 12-point deficit into a 14-point lead, and beat the Americans 101-95 Friday in the semifinals of the FIBA World Championship.

"To lose any game is a shock to us," U.S. star Carmelo Anthony said. "We came in with the mentality to win the game and the gold medal."

Instead, the best Anthony can do now is add another bronze to his collection.

Greece (8-0) can earn a world title to go with the European championship it won in 2005 with a victory over either Spain or Argentina in Sunday's gold medal game. Those teams, also undefeated, met in Friday's second game.

"They played like a champion plays," U.S. forward Shane Battier said of Greece.

The Americans will have to wait at least two more years to remember what that feels like.

Done in again by their inept 3-point shooting -- and they weren't much better from the foul line -- the Americans will fall short of a championship in a major international tournament for the third straight time since winning gold at the 2000 Olympics.

The Greeks -- with no current NBA players on their roster -- danced in a circle at halfcourt after their victory.

"Big players play big games," said guard Theodoros Papaloukas, the MVP of the European final who had 12 assists Friday. "And today I think we played very good."

The U.S. (7-1) will return to the court Saturday against the loser of the Argentina-Spain game, hoping to match the bronze medal it left Athens with in 2004.

"Those guys are hurting," said USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo, who was put in charge of the program after a sixth-place finish in the 2002 worlds preceded the disappointment in Athens. "It's probably a better thing we have to come back tomorrow and play again instead of sitting on this for two days."

Anthony scored 27 points for the Americans, who couldn't overcome their 32 percent shooting from 3-point range or 59 percent from the foul line. Dwyane Wade added 19 and LeBron James had 17, but the three U.S. captains were unable to make up for their disappointment from Athens.

Vassilis Spanoulis, bound for the Houston Rockets, scored 22 points for Greece. Mihalis Kakiouzis added 15 and 6-foot-10 Sofoklis Schortsianitis -- nicknamed "Baby Shaq" -- added 14, shooting 6-of-7.

"Basketball is not just about dribbling and shooting," said Greece coach Panagiotis Yannakis, who took a congratulatory call from Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis after the game. "You can come off the bench with a clear mind and give the best of your talent and that's what our players did today."

Continuously burning the Americans' poor defense against the pick-and-roll, the Greeks shot 63 percent (35-of-56) from the field and made 31 of 44 shots over the final three periods.

"We didn't make the right adjustments," U.S. center Chris Bosh said. "They ran the same play. We made it easy for them."

The U.S. hasn't even played for a world championship since winning the last of its three titles in Toronto in 1994. Mike Krzyzewski -- who was looking for gold after winning bronze with the 1990 team -- and a few American players walked to midcourt to congratulate the Greeks, while most of the U.S. roster quickly headed to the locker room.

The Americans, who put together a national team program this year for the first time, now will be forced to qualify for the 2008 Olympics next summer in the FIBA Americas tournament in Venezuela.

"This one hurts," said Colangelo, who assembled the team. "We had the gold medal as our goal and anything short is disappointing. We go back to work and get ready for qualifying next summer."

The U.S. seemed in control after Joe Johnson's 3-pointer gave the Americans a 33-21 lead with about 6½ minutes left in the second quarter. It was around then that James told his teammates on the bench: "They don't know what to do."

Well, they figured it out in a hurry.

Greece scored nine straight points, pulling within three on Theodoros Papaloukas' drive with 3:51 left and forcing Krzyzewski to call a timeout. Dwight Howard converted a three-point play, but the Greeks answered with a 13-2 surge, featuring eight points from Schortsianitis, to open a 43-38 lead and force Krzyzewski to call a second timeout.

Greece hit nine straight shots -- its only miss in the last 5 minutes was a heave from halfcourt as time expired -- and led 45-41 at halftime. The Greeks shot 56 percent (15-of-27) in the half.

The Americans were 2-of-10 from behind the arc -- after going 10-for-40 in their quarterfinal victory over Germany -- and trailed at the break for only the second time in the tournament. Italy had a nine-point cushion in a group play game.

Greece kept it up in the third quarter, hitting 14 of its 18 shots, including all four 3-pointers in the first 5 minutes. Kostas Tsartsaris' 3-pointer with 5:45 left in the period gave the Greeks a 65-51 lead -- the biggest deficit the U.S. faced in the tournament.

After shooting 4-of-12 in the first quarter, Greece was 25-of-33 (76 percent) in the second and third and led 77-65 heading to the final period.

"It seemed like they didn't miss the whole third quarter," Wade said.

Anthony, Wade and James combined for the first 18 U.S. points in the quarter, and the Americans eventually got as close as 95-91 on Kirk Hinrich's 3 with 36 seconds to play. But the U.S. missed its final two attempts from behind the arc, capping a 9-of-28 night.



disgusting


all this means now is that the mamba is gonna bring his tights to venezuela next year and jack up 50 shots a game, probably resulting in a win, but not really accomplishing anything.

GET A FUCKING SHOOTER!!


back to the drawing board...
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Old 09-01-2006, 10:57 AM   #2
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How many points did Rony Seikaly score?
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Old 09-01-2006, 10:58 AM   #3
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wheres coach K when you need him?

oh wait...
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Old 09-01-2006, 01:35 PM   #4
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This is so sad. But funny for me as a Canadian.
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Old 09-01-2006, 02:30 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by Hewson
How many points did Rony Seikaly score?
He didn't play, but Chris Chelios played 5 minutes and got whistled for 2 really hard fouls. He was a last-minute addition to the roster, as the Greece coaches thought they needed a tough guy.
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Old 09-01-2006, 02:39 PM   #6
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I thought the team was made up of digustingly wealthly shipping heirs vying for the love of Paris Hilton.
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Old 09-01-2006, 02:53 PM   #7
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Why is it any suprise that a team of spoiled brat NBA players had trouble with three-pointers (or even lost at the international level) at this point?

I really don't blame people who prefer college hoops over the glitzy, showboating pro league at the moment.
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Old 09-01-2006, 03:29 PM   #8
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I've found the NBA unwatchable for a good 5-6 years now.
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Old 09-01-2006, 03:32 PM   #9
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go sixers

The NBA sucks, why would you pick NBA players? College is what it is all about.
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Old 09-01-2006, 03:53 PM   #10
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I didn't see the game, so all I have to go on is the box score and game report. That said, I don't think you can blame poor 3-point shooting too much for the game. Sure, it's an easier shot than in the NBA, but 3-point shooting is often a hot-and-cold thing; sometimes the team just doesn't have it.

However, the following passage from the writeup was revealing:

Quote:
Continuously burning the Americans' poor defense against the pick-and-roll, the Greeks shot 63 percent (35-of-56) from the field and made 31 of 44 shots over the final three periods.

"We didn't make the right adjustments," U.S. center Chris Bosh said. "They ran the same play. We made it easy for them."
I looked up the box score, and Greece shot 27-for-38 from 2-point range. 71 percent. That's ridiculous. Isn't pick-and-roll defense something you learn in middle school?
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Old 09-01-2006, 03:54 PM   #11
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it's really not a very educated statement to say that college players would automaticly do better, or are better, or are better to watch.

the same type of player... pure athlete, diluted fundamental skill... that is celebrated in the NBA are celebrated in college... i.e. UConn.

this was yet another poorly constructed team of hype and flash over substance. the reputations of the "big three"... LeBron James, Carmello Anthony & Dwyane Wade... took a huge hit today, imo.

dwyane wade is the next michael jordan? please... michael jordan would never allow his team to lose to greece. plug jordan in his prime into the spot on this current team occupied by any of those three, and this team does not lose a game. period.


it's amazing to see how quickly american basketball has deteroirated into shit. the cocktail of sneaker companies, sportscenter, aau & hip hop culture has turned the game i love into a mess... at least here, in america, where it all began in the first place.

you could put together an american team that would dominate in the worlds. it is possible. you just have to not be blinded by "star" power and take guys who actually can play the game the way it's meant to be played.

i watched a bunch of the non american games on NBA TV over the past 2 weeks. and the laughing stock of the nba the past few years... the one man punch line, darko milicic, was more valuable and more effective than most of the guys on the american team. it was great to watch... players, even nba guys like dirk and pao, playing unselfishly, playing for the benefit of the team as opposed to the benefit of the scoresheet, and, low and behold, making jumpers.

the international 3-point line is an inch back from the american high school/college 3-point line... and we send a group of NBA players who, short of kirk hinrich, can't shoot. brilliant.

a guy i know who played at the school where i coach at now plays for benetton in the italian league. in the nba draft he was passed over for high school kids and athletic projects. in the italian league, he's the leading scorer (on a team with this season's #1 nba draft pick, andrea bargnani).

we've forgotten how to play in america. we've lost touch with the core of what's important to succeed in the game.

ugh... i'm pissed.
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Old 09-01-2006, 03:57 PM   #12
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Originally posted by speedracer I looked up the box score, and Greece shot 35-for-56 from 2-point range. 62.5 percent. That's ridiculous. Isn't pick-and-roll defense something you learn in middle school?
there's a bunch of different ways to defend the screen roll... be it jumping the screen, switching high, switching low, fighting through, what have you.

it's not overly difficult to defend, per say. but if guys aren't on the same page, and/or don't care, and/or are stupid, then, as simple as it is, it will destroy a team.
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Old 09-01-2006, 04:02 PM   #13
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Originally posted by Headache in a Suitcase


there's a bunch of different ways to defend the screen roll... be it jumping the screen, switching high, switching low, fighting through, what have you.

it's not overly difficult to defend, per say. but if guys aren't on the same page, and/or don't care, and/or are stupid, then, as simple as it is, it will destroy a team.
Must be, because Mike Krzyzewski swears by man-to-man defense, and there's no way he could have skimped on pick-and-roll defense during practice.
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Old 09-01-2006, 06:53 PM   #14
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America could have killed the match in the 1st quarter but their 3-point shooters failed.
When Greece changed their game in the 2nd quarter, Americans seemed to be lost, it was amazing.

It's too difficult to create a team in a few weeks, the next Olympic team should be made of players from the same franchise.

Anthony
Rest of the team
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Old 09-01-2006, 08:35 PM   #15
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That D absolutely sucked. No one knew how to defend the lane. No one.
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