Spain had just cut the lead to two on a Rudy Fernandez three pointer. It was gut check time for the United States, and Coach Krzyzewski called a timeout with eight minutes left to play in the Olympics. All the sacrifices this team of superstars had made, all the time they put into this Olympics, achieving the gold medal they had to have came down to eight minutes of basketball.
Doubt started to creep, would the Americans crumble? Would they start to play 1 on 1 basketball? Well, fresh out of the timeout team play was still emphasized. Kobe Bryant drove the lane, the defense collapsed on him and he kicked the ball to a wide open Deron Williams in the corner. Williams nailed an open three pointer, and the doubts started to fade away a bit. On the very next United States possession, Kobe drove into the lane once again drew the defense and hit Dwight Howard with a pass for a dunk.
The tables had turned, as the U.S. gave themselves a bit of a cushion on their way to winning the gold medal and putting U.S. basketball back on top. After embarrassments in the World Championships and the Olympics, a lot was said about basketball in the United States. The players being too selfish, the caliber of basketball in the U.S. taking a hit among other things. So in an effort to become a power in basketball again, Jerry Colangelo sculpted this team three years ago, and it has been a commitment ever since then. They brought the best talent over here, arguably having the two best players in the world (James, Bryant), 3 of the 10 best point guards in the world (Kidd, Paul, Williams), the best center in the world (Howard) among other talent. It was getting them to play as a team that was the most important part, because obviously the talent is there. It all came together, and the Americans did it. They brought home the gold.
On a side note, I deserve a face full of crow for my stance on Dwyane Wade being on the Olympic team. As is documented in my initial entry about the U.S. basketball team I didn’t think Wade belonged there, as I felt we had three bigger better versions of him. Well, Wade was the best player in the Olympics as no one could guard him and he played great defensively. So, Wade gets props, as he played wonderfully.
Read more at captainclutch.blogspot.com