Men’s Basketball Olympic Gold – Team USA

It may not have been the prettiest game.

There was, however, a lot of heart, on both sides.

Spain challenged Team USA with their big men, the Gasol brothers (Pau and Marc) and Serge Ibaka and a great supporting cast.

However, it was not enough, as they lost to the US 107-100.

People did not think it would be this close. However, when you are dealing with NBA All Stars, and similar caliber players, there is a lot of pride in winning. And that pride can drive players to perform incredibly well.

Team USA, led by LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant, with assistance from all areas of the floor, captured their second straight Olympic Gold medal.

When the buzzer sounded, when the clock hit 0.0, Team USA started celebrating. They had not done so after any earlier game, as some teams did, as they knew this was the only game that mattered…the only one worth celebrating.

It was great to see the team acknowledge 76ers coach Doug Collins following their on-court flurry of cheers and laughs.

Another touching moment was seeing Kobe and Pau with a big hug, LA Laker teammates who battled against this summer but will join Dwight Howard and Steve Nash this fall in an NBA title run.

The final game televised interview was with LeBron, Kevin and Kobe, the top three scorers on the team, as well as the top three in the 2011-2012 NBA season.

To all the players on all the teams, very well done. Unfortunately, in Olympic competition there is only one winner – one Gold medal.

For London 2012 that is Team USA. Congratulations.

Coach K is a winner. And he leads winners. A great job by a great coach.

Guards: Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Russell Westbrook, James Harden.
Forwards: LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Love, Andre Iguodala, Anthony Davis
Center: Tyson Chandler

Over For Now.

Main Street One

Team USA Basketball Shatters Records

It was an absolute shooting spectacle to behold.

On Thursday, August 2, 2012, Team USA shot a blistering 71% from all points of the court to throttle Nigeria, 156-73, and set several team and individual Olympic and US records that may well stand for years to come.

The first one set was at half-time, where Team USA had run up an Olympic record 78 points, 49 of which came in the first quarter, led by All Star Kobe Bryant with 14 of his 16 points.

Carmelo Anthony beat the individual Olympic scoring mark with 37 points, by hitting 13 of 16 shots (81%), in just over 14 minutes of action, with 10 of 12 (83%) launched behind the arc.

Photo By MIKE SEGAR/Reuters

The 156 total stripped the high-point title from Brazil, set in their 1988 victory over Egypt, when they had scored 138. The previous high by a US team was by the Dream team, in 1992, when they scored 127, twice.

As well, the high score was set without LeBron James or Kobe Bryant playing in the 2nd half (and only 10:43 total each in the 1st half), and Melo being yanked from the 3rd quarter, after he dropped his 10th 3-pointer, and only 14:29 total playing time.

The honor of hitting the shot that beat Brazil’s record fell to Andre Iguodala, who nailed a 3-pointer with 4:37 left in the game.

There were US records set as well, by the 2012 team: 3-pointers made (26), field goals made (59) and field goal percentage (71%), as well as margin of victory, winning by 83 points.

The Thursday night performance by team USA has been callled, among other things, a shooting clinic. It was definitely that, and more.

Russell Westbrook scored 21 points on 8 shots, while Kevin Durant snagged 14 and Kevin Love 15 on 9 shots each and Deron Williams took 6 shots for his 13 points. Meanwhile, #1 NBA draft pick, Anthony Davis went 4 for 4 coming up with 9 points.

As the Black Mamba said, “When we get hot, it’s a big problem.”

Truer words have never been spoken.

Congrats to Team USA and, especially, to Melo.

Over For Now.

Main Street One

NBA Lockout 2011: Class Action Lawsuit Filed by Players

In one of two class-action lawsuits filed, thus far, against the NBA owners there is reference to statements allegedly made by NBA Commissioner David Stern that, if true, really make his title that of Czar. They also show he never planned on real negotiations, but, rather, strong-arm tactics and ultimatums to crush the Player’s Union.

The suit filed in the Northern District of California names plantiffs Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups of the New York Knicks, Oklahoma Thunder and NBA scoring leader Kevin Durant, Memphis Grizzlies forward Leon Powers and NBA rookie Kawhi Leonard against the NBA and the owners of its 30 teams.

The filing states that David Stern, during negotiations with the Player’s Union back in 2007, demanded that the players drop their Basketball Related Income (BRI) percentage from 57 to 50, much as the last offered deal by the NBA this year.

As well, Stern demanded “a much more restrictive salary cap, which would restrict the market for player services.” Deja Vu.

According to documents filed with the court, it is further alleged that Stern stated the NBA owners were “prepared to lock out the players for two years to get everything.”

One wonders if Stern would be paid during the two year lockout…

An additional czar-ish comment supposedly made by Stern is that “the deal would only get worse after the lockout.”

Enter the 2011 “bargaining” talks with Stern’s recent statement that if players did not accept a deal offered by the owner’s that it would get worse and the player’s BRI share would be reduced to 47%.

All of the good that Stern has done for the NBA during his tenure is all but wiped out with his handling of this lockout. Threats, such as those tossed around by Stern, even if they might legitimately be classified as risky bluffs, can, and do, backfire. In this case, they did. Horribly.

Stern and the NBA owners (perhaps not all) have taken these “negotiations” way too far over the top. There does not appear to be any real good faith on the part of the owners.

And, perhaps billionaires who own sports franchises simply because they wish to own a championship title and not because they love the game should be discounted, or eliminated, from the process because, during their several year quest for the title they seek, they have not cared about the bottom line when spending money foolishly.

The player’s current share of BRI is not the actual and total cause of any paper losses by a franchise. Yes, there may be some contribution to it, but it is not the “why.” Please bear in mind that a loss on paper is not the same thing as an actual loss in cash or cash flow to an owner.

Perhaps players are overpaid. However, that blame goes to the owners who, at the time they did the deal for the player they so dearly wanted, were more than happy to agree to their agent’s demands. They could have simply said “no.”

Over For Now.

Main Street One