Sports: Who’ll Win The Olympic Gold In Men’s Basketball?
If you are a National basketball Association fanatic, your initial answer to the question as to which nation will bag the men’s basketball crown at the London Games will definitely be the United States ‘dream team’ headed by LeBron James and Kobe Bryant.
In five pre-Olympic cum friendly games, the US Team won all: a 113-59 shellacking of the Dominican Republic in Las Vegas followed by a not-so masterful 80-69 conquest of Brazil at the Verizon Center in Washington with no less than US President Barrack Obama in attendance.
Team USA went on to beat Argentina, 86-80, Olympic hosts Great Britain by a mile (118-78) and finally, possible gold-medal for Spain a few days ago in a 100-78 victory for an overall 5-0 success a couple of days before the Americans face France in their initial Group A meeting at the Basketball Arena in London.
Against the Atlanta Hawk’s Al Horford and company, Kevin Durant scored 24 points and grabbed 10 caroms as the US breezed past the Dominican Republic, a team which failed to get past the wildcards after losing to Nigeria in the final battle for the third additional slot to London.
US Olympic Coach Mike Kyrzyzewski of Duke University also led his star-studded quintet to that unimpressive 11-point triumph versus the Brazilians led by NBA players Anderson Varejao, Tiago Splitter, Nene Hilario and Leandro Barbosa outrebounded their undersized counterparts, 38-30.
But the closest game the US Dream Team has ever fought prior to the 2012 Summer Olympics was the game versus the seemingly veteran-laden Argentinian side in a match held in Barcelona, Spain. The final score: 86-80 for Team USA.
In that particular outing, Durant once again bailed the team out of trouble by scoring 27 markers on 10-of-15 shooting from the field while reigning NBA Most Valuable Player of league champions Miami added 15 points on top of seven caroms against a bunch of well experienced Argentinian cage veterans led by Manu Ginobili of the San Antonio Spurs.
Looking at the Argentina men’s basketball team, NBA veterans like Ginobili, 34, Luis Scola of Phoenix (32), Pablo Prigioni of New York (35), Carlos Delfino of Milwaukee (29), Andres Nocioni (32) and three other veteran big men playing in the Spanish league and in Argentina can be considered as past their prime yet dangerous.
Against the British, James, Deron Williams and Carmelo Anthony combined for 57 markers as Team USA cruised to that easy 40-point blowout of the hometown cage players in Manchester where locals rooted for the NBA stars over their own national team cage stalwarts like Luol Deng (Chicago) and Joel Freeland (Portland).
Then came another surprise 22-point blowout of the Gasol brothers in Barcelona by the US players with Anthony topscoring for 27 markers and James as well as Durant adding 25 and 13 points, respectively, for the rout. Spain is bracketed in Group B and the possibility of meeting the Americans again will not take place until August 8 during the quarterfinals.
But hey, your Sideline Spectator predicts a USA versus Spain encounter for the gold medal and the championships won’t take place until August 12, the last day of the quadrennial event. In this scenario, there’s no doubt the Americans will retain the Olympic diadem with a sound beating of any opponent for that matter.
The Final Four forecast will have the United States, France or Argentina (or both) from Group A while from Group B, my prediction is that Spain and Brazil, Australia or Russia will advance to the medal rounds with the Americans and the Spaniards going up against each other for the coveted gold medal....
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