Team USA v. Greece: Preview and Chat

Phillip Barnett —  August 25, 2010

Lamar Odom (L) of the U.S. goes up for a basket over Spain's Marc Gasol during their friendly basketball game at Caja Magica pavillion in Madrid August 22, 2010. REUTERS/Sergio Perez (SPAIN - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

This morning, the US National team will take on the Greeks, in Greece, in another preparation game for the World Championships. The US National team are fresh off a one-point victory over the Spaniards which ended with a game winning block by Kevin Durant. The Greeks have been in the news lately because of their recent brawl with Serbia, which forced the game to end two minutes early.

This is a Greek team that is coming into the game against the US with wins over Canada, Russia, Germany and Croatia by 74, 38, 28 and nine points, respectively. I’ve read that the Greeks have made their final cuts, so the team we see this morning will be the actual roster that will suit up for the Worlds. However, it’s been reported that their starting center, Ioannis Bourousis, will not play due to an injury. No suspensions have been handed out from their brawl yet, so the USA will see everyone else on the roster.

One guy we should look out for is Sofoklis Schortsanitis, the 6’10”, 350+ pound monster on the block affectionately nicknamed Baby Shaq. He’s never been a great scorer, but he’s a bruiser. Considering the US National team’s size problems, Schortsanitis could be a huge problem on the boards for our guys. Outside of that, I don’t see the US having too many problems with this Greek team. They’re ranked fourth in the world and are a high quality opponent, but the Americans are just too athletic up top and too quick defensively for this Greek team. Vassillis Spanoulis is a quality point guard and Antonis Fotsis is a formidable power forward, and are two guys who can potentially do very good things against the US National team.

As far as Lamar Odom goes, he had a very good showing against Spain and I think his good play should continue against the Greeks, who don’t have anyone who can match up with his size and athleticism.

You can watch the game on ESPN, or watch it online at ESPN3.com.

Phillip Barnett

Posts

20 responses to Team USA v. Greece: Preview and Chat

  1. Welp, it looks like Sofoklis Schortsanitis won’t be playing either. He’s out with an ankle injury.

  2. First commercial break notes:

    Lamar Odom has a missed layup. Missing around the rim and turnovers have been the biggest problem for Team USA thus far. They’re going to HAVE to clean these issues up before the elimination rounds.

  3. End of 1st Q notes:

    This US team is awfully frustrating to watch. At the end of the first, they have three missed shots around the basket and a few turnovers.

    Greece’s guard play has been very good. They’re a fantastic passing team, as are most of the better European teams.

    The US has been playing more zone that what we’ve seen from them so far. They have a lot of work to do to play an effective zone at this level, but you can see that the zone is going to be a great tool for them come the tournament. They’ve been able to create turnovers out of the zone, leading to much needed transition buckets.

  4. Odom’s playing good pick n’ roll defense. And the team’s length isn’t helping Greece out at all. That said, Greece is playing us well.

  5. Commercial Break notes:

    On the positive side, you have to be impressed with the way both Kevin Durant and Derrick Rose have played. These two are definitely the future of the NBA and the best Team USA has to offer. Rose is getting in the paint at will and is 4 for 4 from the field, and Durant is out-hustling guys for rebounds. It’s really fun watching these two play together.

  6. Rose is playing beastly in transition.

  7. Philip, do you know if the ESPN announcers usually call euro basketball? They seem very knowledgeable, and much better than the variety show MC’s they use for calling NBA games. This is the first time I’m actually liking ESPN coverage of basketball.

  8. Fran Fraschilla and Kevin Connors are calling this game, both ESPN guys. I know Fraschilla does a lot of college hoops. Connors has been all over the place for the network, but I don’t think either guy has done a lot of work at the international level.

  9. They both did their homework, it seems.

  10. Halftime Notes:

    Kostas Tsartsaris has had a great first half for Greece. He has 17 points and scored on everyone who guarded him in the second quarter. Fraschilla and Connors pointed out that Tsartsaris is the third string center for this team (the other two not suited up today).

    Greece played much better in the second quarter, but the US squad didn’t relinquish much of their lead, which dropped from 11 to 10 points from the end of the first to the end of the second.

    The missed buckets around the rim stopped in the second quarter, but the turnovers did not. This team is still very raw in their half court sets, and will be very vulnerable when they’re unable to create turnovers.

    OUtside of Rose and Durant, Eric Gordon had a good first half scoring nine points on 3 of 5 shooting.

  11. Phillip, I’m at work and can’t access EPSN3.com. Can you give quarterly score updates? Thanks!

  12. End of the third quarter notes:

    Both teams came out of the half extremely sloppy. Team USA picked things up, though and extended their lead to 25.

    This game has turned into a matter of athleticism, and Team USA will be the overwhelming favorite in the athlete battle in every game they play. Greece missed a few long jumpers and turned the ball over to get Team USA out and running.

  13. DY,

    if you have veetle player, you can watch the rest of the game here:

    http://veetle.com/index.php/channel/view#4c74148e7fb0c

  14. DY,

    There are just over 6 minutes left to play and USA leads 71-48.

  15. kareem & Phillip
    Fran Fraschilla has spent most of his life covering European basketball. He is ESPN’s expert on foreign players. Therefore, he will have very key things to say about both the players and how the style of play is going.

  16. End of game notes:

    This game was never close in the second half. Eric Gordon had a big second half, finished with 18 points and Derrick Rose played well throughout.

    It’s hard to imagine Team USA having it this easy against Greece should they play again. They were missing two of their big men and didn’t play much zone defense. They turned the ball over a lot and had no answer for Team USA’s transition game.

  17. “Triple Threat” ft. Ron Artest

  18. Was this a case of “Bad Lamar” making an appearance, or was it a game in which he contributed but not in ways the box scores reveal? With LO, you never know.

    I wasn’t able to watch, but his stat line was horrible – one shot, no points, one assist and three boards in 18 minutes.

  19. New post is up on Lamar and his contributions to this year’s Olympic squad:

    http://www.forumblueandgold.com/2010/08/25/odom-the-olympian/