Monday, 6 August 2012

USA vs. Argentina: Is Team USA Unbeatable at the 2012 Olympics?

Five up, five down for Team USA at the 2012 London Olympics. The American men's basketball team finished off their slate in Group A with a 126-97 vanquishing of Argentina's "Golden Generation" on Monday.

Which brought to mind a familiar refrain: Can anyone stop USA basketball from charging toward another gold medal?

The answer? It all depends on which iteration of Team USA shows up in the knockout rounds.

If it's the same sluggish bunch that stumbled its way to a 99-94 win over Lithuania and through the first two quarters against the Argentines, then the rest of the world stands an excellent chance of springing the upset. Those six quarters saw the U.S. allow its opponents to hit better than 60 percent of their shots from the field while falling well short of 50 percent for themselves.

Lethargic, half-hearted defense, particularly on the perimeter, coupled with the lazy hoisting of settled-for three-pointers, tends to put Team USA in a bad spot, as does crisp offensive execution and a physical, disruptive effort defensively by the opposition.

However, if Team USA plays the way it did in the second halves against France, Tunisia and Argentina (and for the entire game against Nigeria), then the path to the top of the podium will be as clear as ever.

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