Monday, August 18, 2008

Why Team USA versus Germany was Meaningful

During today’s game, it was commented that the outcome was meaningless -- at least as it relates to seedings heading into the medal round. Well, it sure did not appear meaningless to Team USA. Often times, there is a lack of energy and intensity in a "meaningless" game. Not today. The players came out of the gate focused and motivated. Other observations:

• High energy circulating from the tip
• Defensive pressure all over the court – ball pressure, help-side, and playing passing lanes
• Lightening quickness in transition
• Solid play well into the third quarter that led to an extension of the lead

The process and outcome were meaningful for the team's momentum and chemistry as it heads into the next game against Australia.

I have been impressed with Kobe’s leadership and noticeable development as a teammate and representative of his country. His interview with Pao Gasol on Saturday was refreshing. To see him joking around with a teammate, noticing that he can be “boys” with another star, was a superb situation. He is also highly motivated by the atmosphere at the Olympics. He was genuinely excited during the swimming relay on Sunday morning (there was a shot of him screaming and cheering from the stands) and must have heard about Jason Lezak’s complimentary remarks. Kobe later talked about his intent to uphold his team’s end of the bargain (not letting the USA down).

I’m sure his team is also motivated by the women’s team, who has just been pounding opponents.

And, how about Lebron’s dunk in the third quarter against Germany? When that lane opened, Doug Collins’ anticipation skills forced him to let out an “Uh-oh.” A moment later, Bron-Bron jumped off two feet outside the paint for a powerful, in-your-face, leaning hammer slam.


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