The on ball pressure wasn’t great either. The USA only recorded four steals the entire game and were led by Carmelo Anthony with two. There was no denial of the first pass from the ball, and this can also be credited to the Grecians outstanding movement without the rock. Something that the NBA needs to study and implement into its often too redundant one-on-one style of play.
The last part of this defensive equation that didn’t add up for the USA was the defensive boards. With a poor defensive pressure on the Greek shooters, not only was the ball being picked out of the net a lot, but when it didn’t go in the USA couldn’t figure out that long range shots create long range rebounds. The defensive box-out on the perimeter players was atrocious. The Greek squad got so many long rebounds that turned into second chances. I had to hold myself back from waking up my whole neighborhood screaming at the top of my lungs.
The USA was led again by Carmelo Anthony whose stat line was full with 27 points, two steals, two assists, and three rebounds. At this point, as a Nuggets fan, I just don’t want to see anything sketchy happen to ‘Melo in the final game. As far as I’m concerned, these FIBA Championships can be filed under the long list of Mission: INCOMPLETE for the USA Basketball Program.