After an 83-point victory over Nigeria that can only be described as annihilation, the U.S. team must have felt invincible. They scored 156 points, making 29 of 46 three-pointers and setting some new Olympic records.
It seemed like the Americans had hit their stride and were going to coast all the way to a gold medal.
That feeling didn’t last long.
The Americans had to fight hard to win a nail biter against Lithuania, actually trailing in the 4th quarter. The magic that the team seemed to have against Nigeria just wasn’t there, and neither was the three-pointer.
The U.S. only shot 10 of 33 (30%) from outside the arc in their 99-94 win. It seemed like Lithuania was daring the U.S. to fire away, as if they hadn’t watched the previous game. It almost worked too.
Once the Americans missed a couple, it may have gotten into their heads. Point guard Deron Williams made it seem like the team started second-guessing themselves.
“When you miss a couple of them, you start thinking, ‘I’m just gonna pass it,’” Williams said. “But coach stayed on us. He got a little pissed off that we were passing up shots. So you just have to be ready to shoot them. We want to get it inside, too, but we had wide open shots on the perimeter. You’ve got to take them. Three feet closer than the NBA 3 [point line]. They looked good, they felt good. They just weren’t going in.”
While I am in awe of what the U.S. did against Nigeria. It’s not what they need. I will say, if they’re shooting like that, they can beat anyone, even the ’92 Dream Team. But no team is capable of shooting like that every game. This year’s Olympians have so much athleticism, they should be able to score inside easily, even though they’re a comparatively small team. We’ve seen the dunks and the ability to get to the rim that the American team is capable of. It should be like that on the majority of possessions.
There’s no reason this team needs to live and die by the three-point shot. Going forward, I hope they start playing to their strengths and not settling for what’s easy. If they continue to bomb away from the outside, it makes them much more susceptible to an upset.
|Follow us on Twitter|