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Read Chris Sheridan and watch USA Hoops

by Bobby Loesch on August 2, 2008 at 1:32AM


doberman.jpegNow, don't get me wrong, I hate America as much as the next guy, but I don't think anything brings out the patriotism in me as much as USA basketball.

It probably all started in 2004, when Allen "All Heart" Iverson was carrying a mediocre, poorly coached Larry Brown team in Athens. Factoring out benched players Brown (cough, cough, LeBron), the team basically had nobody, played up to its potential, and got totally vilified in the States -- from press and fans alike -- for finishing third in the world. I repeat: third... in the entire world. Bronze, baby.

Now, I know the expectations of USA basketball are pretty high -- and with good reason -- but the team matched its potential. Maybe even overachieved it.

This year is different. The team's ceiling is a lot higher. And still, haters like Dan Shanoff are still using the expression USA Oops. Man, I hate him sometimes.

LeBron. Carmelo. D-Wade. Dwight Howard. Kobe... as a defensive stopper!

The team is gross. Envisioning the havoc they'll likely wreak in the Beijing had me on the same plain of excitement for basketball which only could be compared with the late nineties Bulls teams. I wouldn't dare say they're better than the Dream Team, but they're pretty athletic, and I bet they'd give them a run for their money.

ESPN.com's Chris Sheridan has been on the beat almost aggressively as Pedro Gomez was on Barry Bonds watch -- except Sheridan's coverage is actually informative and good. And even better, he seems like he's really enjoying himself.

Some sweet excerpts after USA's recent pwnage of Lithuania...

The lead:
We have three candidates for strangest thing we saw on Friday: a referee smoking a cigarette at halftime, Sarunas Jasikevius looking as if he had never played the game of basketball before and Chris Paul throwing down a dunk late in the fourth quarter.
The Kobe:
Kobe Bryant's shutting down of Jasikevicius was one of the biggest eye-openers, as Team USA handled Lithuania with relative ease in a 120-84 victory that wrapped up the Macau portion of its pre-Olympic tour.

"That's what I do," said Bryant, who gave himself a new nickname: "The Doberman."

Some bullets:

• Dwyane Wane again looked like the Wade of two years ago, punctuating a 7-for-9, 19-point performance with yet another powerful windmill dunk late in the fourth quarter that had his teammates jumping off the bench and roaring in admiration.

"He's back. That's all I can tell you, he's back," Carmelo Anthony said.

• Howard got going on offense early after getting a pep talk from assistant coach Nate McMillan in the morning shootaround. He scored 10 of his 17 points in the best first quarter the Americans have played among their three warm-up games thus far.

• Michael Redd busted Lithuania's zone by knocking down four 3-pointers and scoring 16 points in just 14 minutes, his shot clicking so well that LeBron James took to yelling "bang bang" every time the left-hander fired away.

• Carlos Boozer even got in on the fun with a steal -- one of 16 the Americans had -- and breakaway dunk late in the game. "I used to do that a lot in high school and college, not so much in the pros," Boozer said.

And, just because he's unintentionally hilarious, some more Kobe:

The best piece of defensive work was performed by Bryant, who was all over Jasikevicius the same way he was against Leandro Barbosa of Brazil last summer in the Tournament of the Americas. The box score listed just three turnovers for the former member of the Pacers and Warriors, but the count on press row was more like seven or eight.

This is the same Jasikevicius who burned the Americans four years ago in Athens by burying seven 3-pointers and scoring 28 points in an opening-round victory over the U.S. And although it has been only four years since then, so thorough was the job Bryant did on Jasikevicius that he made him look like a player 10 years past his prime.

"He had a great game against us a few years ago, and he was real brash about it, trash talking and things of that nature. So it's my responsibility to bring it to him," Bryant said. "He reminded me of it, so we sicced The Doberman on him."

A few points:
1) This team seems to be clicking in a way only seen in unrealistic sports movies.
2) The Doberman is one of the best self-appointed, used in third-person nicknames I've heard this side of the Black Mamba.
3) In their game against Turkey yesterday, someone baseball passed an in-bounds to Kobe on the other side of the court as he ran past the deepest defensive player like a wide receive beating a safety. Kobe caught it and slammed it home. America is literally pick-up basketball-style cherry picking in international play. So sick.

Team USA opens up its Olympic play on August 10th against China. I implore you to watch these games. America might not have its all-time best squad, but it's going to be a damn good show.





16 Comments | Leave a comment



I'm a little worried about your boy Danks. Or as you said in beachwood: "Danks has been the Sox' most consistent pitcher, the type of front end of the rotation force that is required to win post-season games."

I think its starting to even out a bit, since he was very lucky in the first half; Last four starts (28 days):

23.2 IP
6.85 ERA
.885 OPS (against)
.323 AVG (against)

It could be a rough patch, or it could mean that he will end up right around where he should have, as a up and coming pitcher who is a bit better than your average MLB pitcher NOW, but will develop into a pretty good one in the future. I mean he's only 23. Your thoughts?

How was he lucky in the first half exactly? I need you to back that up. Danks doesn't walk anyone, gives up a low line-drive rate, and strikes out enough guys. He's hit a little rough patch here, which will happen to every pitcher, particularly ones that are 23.

your right. Wrong word. What i meant by luck was that I think he was playing over himself. And we will see a more even Danks, like a mix between the horrid last 4 starts and the first half. I think it is just evening out and he will continue to get better over the next few years...

great post. i am REALLY excited to see what TEAM USA does in Beijing. however, i think that pic is of a rottweiler, and not a doberman, fwiw.

USA basketball is the only thing I care about in the Olympics. I totally agree that this team could give the Dream Team a run for its money. Remember that Magic, Bird and a few others were pretty old on that team too. Kobe is in his prime at 29/30, but everyone else is super, super young. This country really has produced some unreal basketball players the last five or so years, and I hope they just run through everyone in the Olympics. Close games are always more fun in sports, but i'd rather all these olympic basketball games over by the end of the first quarter.

great post. i am REALLY excited to see what TEAM USA does in Beijing. however, i think that pic is of a rottweiler, and not a doberman, fwiw.

Haha, my bad. Blame me and google -- but mostly me.

Bobby. That is Jekyll, a Doberman Pinscher. He was smiling!

its not a rottweiler...
you must be an idiot to think so

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is the crazy dooooooooooooog!

slika i tekst su cool.

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You hate America? Then why don't you get the hell out. I like how you say that you hate it as much as the next guy, as if there is a huge list of people that HATE THEIR OWN COUNTRY or something? People like you give this country a bad name, asshole. Why don't you move to Mexico and get shot by some drug cartel. Or move to Africa and watch your child get kidnapped and trained to forget you and his family and kill many innocent women and children for coal...which is one of the filthiest substances on this planet. Or India? Force your 12 year old daughter to marry some horny 40 year old pervert? Yeah, get the fuck out of this country if you hate it so much.....fuckin douche

You, sir, are NOT a patriot. So don't stake the claim that anything "brings out the patriotism in you". No country is perfect, no system or form of government is perfect. Humans are not perfect, dumb ass. Grow up and get over yourself. Go live somewhere else and see how good you really do have it here, you fucking tool, if you think this country is really so bad. Go ahead and delete my comments if you want, I wouldn't want anyone else to see me getting ripped on in my own forum by a 15 year old.

Great article, I think you covered everything there. . . I would say freelancing is quite hard especially if you are not used to working on your own, can be quite hard to motivate yourself also. . . we all know what it is like to stare at the monitor.

Lol - Preston needs to calm down. In any case, I liked reading this article on pro-basketball very much, given the lack of any non-lockout news lately. Kobe's new nickname might have to stick; the Doberman should be able to find his legs whenever the season starts due to the long lay-off and rest. This last stretch of his career might be a defensive-stopper type run.


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