USA Men’s Basketball put up a great performance on both ends of the court for the first time in these Olympics and now they face Spain for the right to go to the Gold on Sunday.
We’re Talking About Group Play
I kind of feel like Team USA looked at group play in these Olympics like Allen Iverson view practice at the latter stages of his career. When knockout round play hit, Team USA came together and put up their best all-around game of the Olympics. They assisted on a solid 21 of 41 baskets, Kevin Durant had the game of these Olympics and four members of Team USA scored in double figures.
Simply put, if the Americans play like this against Spain, this is going to be no contest. The Spanish got a great performance from Bulls’ star Nikola Mirotic in their quarter finals game against the French and even with a poor game from Pau Gasol, the Spanish easily disposed of France.
However, the French are far from the team they used to be when Tony Parker was younger and furthermore, the Americans beat Spain four years ago when the Spanish had Marc Gasol. Now they have the elder Gasol four years older and along with Mirotic, there isn’t much else to this Spanish team.
When you look at the United States, they are easily a more complete team. Their bench is going to wreak havoc on the Spanish bench on both ends, which is exactly what started to happen as the game with Argentina got further along. While not as elderly, the Spanish don’t have a ton of great young players outside of Mirotic. The United States is 10 players deep and can even stretch that to 11 if they get into foul trouble on the wing.
The Sharp Pick
At only -13 favorites, the Americans are finally a value ATS in this tournament after being a very good fade all through group play. They ended up being a winner ATS against the Argentinians, but that was no guarantee. Argentina came out firing and took a double-digit lead early in that game before Team USA got going, but the Spanish lack that kind of quick-fire offense.
Now that DeAndre Jordan is starting Gasol stands very little chance of getting going against Team USA. He was stifled all night offensively against Rudy Gobert and Joffrey Lauvergne, so there is no way he has a big game against Jordan. The Clippers' big man also gives Team USA a rim protector. Even though DeMarcus Cousins played well on offense int he quarter-finals, the reason for this could be coming off the bench. He is beating up and bullying smaller international bench players. This helped him drop 15 points in the quarterfinals, so even when Jordan comes out or gets into foul trouble, the Spanish will have to deal with a rejuvenated Cousins.
Where this game will be won for the United States in the backcourt. Jordan is a much better pick and roll player with Kyrie Irving both on offense and defense, which is great for the U.S’s perimeter players. When you can have those two playing pick-and-roll with Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Carmelo Anthony on the wings ready to fire a three-pointer, the Spanish stand no chance of covering this one if Team USA is hitting their shots like in the quarter-finals. Look for Team USA to win by 15 to 20 points in this one.
Olympics Basketball Record: 2-2 (-0.18 units)
Free Olympics Pick: Team USA -13
Best Line Offered: at Bet365