Needed that in the worst way. After a tough loss against France, the United States Men’s Basketball Team came into the game against Iran looking to make a statement and right the ship. They did that and then some in a run away, 54 point victory.
The Czech Republic will look to keep the United States out of the medal round. They’re 1-1 in the Olympics after taking a 20 point loss to France. As we know, France beat the USA to begin the Olympics.
Where to follow the game
Peacock (if you got it). The NBC Sports App if you don’t. Breakfast and basketball so the party’s getting started after 8 a.m. ET.
Nothing doing for either side.
One thing that was readily apparent was that Team USA was playing a lot faster than they have been. Here’s Damian Lillard to explain:
“Our energy was higher, we played at a faster pace. We were more aggressive, and we played like ourselves. We didn’t come out here and think that it was just gonna happen, we made it happen, and that’s the way that we got to play if we want to be successful in these Olympics.”
Play fast, play to have fun, play with purpose.
Technically, Team USA can advance to the next stage even if they lose. The hope would be the point differential would save them and get them into the medal round. However, the best way to remove any doubt is to handle your business and win.
Kevin Durant is a few points away from history. KD is six points away from surpassing Carmelo Anthony for the all time scoring lead for the United States Men’s team. Durant had an easy day at the office as he scored 10 points and knocked down 2-4 from deep in 19 minutes. He got to take the fourth quarter off and I’m sure Brooklyn Nets fans appreciate any time KD gets to rest and relax.
It took a game, but it looks like Devin Booker is back in a groove. He had a smooth 16 points on 6-8 shooting as his midrange jumpers help give Gregg Popovich another capable scoring and playmaking option on the roster. When you’re not able to hit from three like the Americans were on Sunday, you need to be able to get to your spots and create offense in that in-between game. Book is one of the very best at it and if he’s locked in, the United States will have an all-world scorer on the court at all times.
Size was an issue for the Americans against France, and it might prove troublesome here. Ondrej Balvin has been excellent in the two games so far as he’s shooting 70.6 percent from the field and averaging eight rebounds a game. He made two threes vs. France, which is kinda surprising when you consider he’s only made one three pointer across 11 years of league and tournament play. For the Americans, the trio of Bam Adebayo, Draymond Green, and Jerami Grant will look to keep Balvin off the boards and look to get America out in transition.
France made the Czechs pay for their 17 turnovers by scoring 22 points off of them. If they’re that sloppy today, the US team will be able to get out in transition and collect easy baskets. With this being a 40 minute game, managing possessions takes on even more importance, especially when a spot at competing for the gold is on the line.
Player to watch: Damian Lillard
When you’re hot, you’re hot. After a bumpy debut vs. France, Lillard got back in formation by making seven threes as he scored a game high 21 points vs. Iran. The American team will be able to win gold if their shooters are on target, and Dame is someone (along with KD) that has the responsibility of anchoring the offense.
Tomas Satoransky will be manning the point for the Czechs. He’s been a quality NBA player so fans will recognize him when he gets brought up. He can knock down threes, does a good job of running the offense, and can be a bit physical as well. He has a tough guard matchup with Lillard and Jrue Holiday, but he’ll be up to the challenge.
From the Vault
An ode to Olympic Melo
More reading: SB Nation
- U.S. Olympic Men Versus Czech Republic Preview - USA Basketball