Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Golden Aftermath

     On August 12, 2012, the United States' Men's Basketball team defeated Spain 107-100 in a nail-biting thriller to win the gold medal. In what was the last Olympic match for Kobe Bryant and head coach Mike Krzyzewski, Team USA came out hungry and tough. It was a rigorous match, as Pau Gasol, his brother Marc, and Serge Ibaka looked to take advantage of the undersized United States team. The Spaniards played slow to their pace for the most part, using an inside-out strategy featuring the Gasols posting up and if double-teamed, kicking it out to shooters like Juan Carlos Navarro and Rudy Fernandez on the three point line. However, the Americans persevered and kept close the entire game, only to break out extravagantly in the fourth quarter.

     Spain is ranked the #2 team in the world, featuring a bevy of NBA players. One of its most crucial pieces, stud point guard Ricky Rubio, was unavailable due to a knee injury. Could he have impacted the outcome of the game? Sure, he definitely could have. But, he would have to go up against All-Defensive first team star Chris Paul and Brooklyn Nets franchise guard Deron Williams. That's no easy task for a player coming off his NBA rookie campaign this past season. The Spaniards proved a worthy and impressive opponent against Team USA, though. In the beginning of the game, it was a shooting battle between Kobe Bryant and Juan Carlos Navarro. Chris Paul had made some critical plays toward the latter stages of the game. But, it was about two players from Team USA: Kevin Durant and LeBron James. James and Durant combined for 49 points and took the reigns for the Americans. Navarro was quoted after the game to say "If it's not Kevin Durant, it's LeBron James. If it's not one, it's the other one." James and Durant controlled the boards, played stellar defense, and made crucial baskets at the end to seal the victory for the United States.

James and Durant embrace after defeating Spain to win gold.

     In the Olympic Games, it was James and Durant who proved to be the best players on Team USA and in the entire world. The two superstars stood out in different ways. Durant scored 156 points during the London Olympics, setting a new American record. LeBron James recorded the first triple-double in Olympic history against Australia in the quarterfinals. James also surpassed Michael Jordan in most points all time for an American basketball player in the Olympics. So, who was the MVP for Team USA? My choice is LeBron James. He is now polished enough to be considered the greatest Team USA member of all time. Of course there will be debate between him and Michael Jordan, but if James competes one more time in the Olympics, I think the title would be all his. In London, James played all different positions and set the tone for Team USA. He scored, facilitated, rebounded, and defended remarkably. He stepped up at the end of close games and gave the Americans an edge that no other team could challenge. His performance was spectacular on both sides of the court and he was the main reason Team USA went undefeated and captured another gold medal.

James' performance led Team USA to
yet another Olympic gold medal.

     Several people, myself included, had doubts that the London Olympics would be an easy journey for Team USA. It was not, as most teams played their hardest against the Americans. People had questions about their size, lack of a post presence, and their supposed life and death on the three point line. Some people thought their egos could affect chemistry and derail this talented team from completing their ultimate goal. But Team USA was resilient, and proved all the doubters wrong by winning it all. After they defeated Spain, James said "...It's not about size, it's about heart."

And that incredible heart got a gold medal around their necks. Congratulations Team USA, on a very successful and captivating journey at the London Olympics!

No comments:

Post a Comment