Sunday, August 24, 2008

Dream Come True for Redeem Team

This was no easy contest for the United States Men's Basketball team, and it seems they wouldn't have wanted it any other way. After cruising for much of the tournament, the U.S. found themselves just two points up on Spain in the 4th quarter, even though they beat the very same team by 37 just a short week ago. Eventually though, the 118-107 scoreboard read in favor of the United States.

The United States got all they could handle from Spain, who found exactly how to take advantage of what the U.S. gave them on defense. Spain had all the second chances they wanted, and were able to penetrate the hoop a lot more than one would have liked to see.

Juan Carlos Navarro, who was tossed around my fantasy league last year as if he was a hot potato, kept driving to the hoop and floating in shots uncontested in the 4th quarter. His shots were what you'd expect out of a rec basketball game, but nobody wearing the red, white, and blue could stop him.

Spain saw many of their other players give the game of their lives as well, as the Gasol brothers dominated inside, and Rudy Fernandez began to make a name for himself with 22 points.

Despite their 107 point effort, it wasn't enough to capture the Gold medal. Dwyane Wade led the Americans with 27 points, and I'm not sure the U.S. leads at halftime without him. Kobe Bryant was a little to shot happy in the later stages of the game from beyond the arc, but came through huge with the signature play of the tournament, a 4 point play with 3 minutes to go. Kobe lives for the clutch moments, and after that play it became clear the United States would be winning this game.

For you Bucks fans out there, you'll be happy to know Michael Redd did get about a half a minutes worth of playing time as he celebrated his birthday. Even though he played sparingly, I think he was the happiest guy of all. It was strangely surreal to see Michael Redd actually celebrate on a basketball court.

Now not everyone played their best game for the United States, but together they played well enough to be Olympic champions. It truly was redemption for this team, and some are calling it the biggest win in American Basketball history. That's not up for me to decide, but I will tell you this. I can't remember the last time I was this happy at 4 in the morning (well, I can, but it wasn't sports related... you know what I'm talking about!)

Anything less than a Gold would have been a major disappointment, and this group of twelve guys with something to prove came through. As announcers Mike Breen and Doug Collins noted, these guys are already multi-millionaires, they could have anything they wanted. But to see these guys driven by competition, with a smiles that reflected years of hard work, was quite something.

They had to win one of the greatest Olympic basketball games ever to reclaim their position on top of the worldwide basketball stage.

They wouldn't have wanted it any other way.


Tony Brown said...

I was at least 10 times happier when the US beat Portugal in World Cup 2002. I think that ended around 4AM, maybe.

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