Defense Wins For USA
I touched on this in our write up and pick on the United States to hold the Czechs down offensively, and I’m following the same logic heading into the match against Turkey.
This USA team’s defense is it’s calling care.
The transfer from Mike Krzyzewski to Gregg Popovich has been pretty seamless outside of the USA’s exhibition loss to the Australians.
One area of focus that has transferred is the defense of Team USA. It’s taken on a new level this year because of the younger and more inexperienced players for the United States.
However, where they lack experience playing internationally, they make up for it with their length and athleticism.
Myles Turner playing with international rules is almost unfair. Not only is he a huge force on the defensive end to begin with, but now he can snatch and swat balls off the rim. That’s a huge advantage for a guy with his size and wingspan.
That will come into play here. With Enes Kanter blackballed from the team politically and his life being threatened by the government of Recep Erdogan, the Turkish government has ensured that their best basketball player is not in China.
That leaves a few other guys with talent though. Ersan Ilyasova is one of my favorite players in the league and despite his advancing age, he can still get plenty of buckets.
Furkan Korkmaz and Cedi Osman are also walking buckets for this team, so the United States has to be careful on the perimeter. The Turks are going to try and spread out the U.S. defense, but I sincerely doubt it will work.
The Sharp Pick
The main problem Turkey faces is the U.S. defense’s versatility. They can switch on defense to pretty much every position and they also have some excellent individual defenders.
Turner and Jayson Tatum are going to tag-team stopping Ilyasova, while Khris Middleton and Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart should be very active defensively for this one.
If the Americans can improve on their three-point perimeter defense from the first game of the tournament, it’s going to be tough for the Turks to score here, especially in the first half. We saw the U.S. limit the Czech Republic to less than 30 first-half points and right now you can get the Turks at 37 first-half points at 5Dimes.
It’s a pretty basic formula, but it has paid off for us so far in the tournament, and I will keep riding it through the group stage probably. Fading offenses that are going up against high-level teams should continue to pay off in this one if the U.S. can control turnovers and stop the outside shooting threats that Turkey possesses.
My Pick: Turkey UNDER 37 1H @ 5Dimes