Note: As some readers and Spurscast listeners may or may not know, I live in Sacramento, CA. That means I’m two hours behind most Project Spurs readers. It also means today’s Team USA-France game started at 6:30 AM for me. Much too early to put thoughts together for a real game recap. Instead I offer you a running diary of a guy on 4.5 hours sleep!
6:31 A.M.: Here we go! Ready for Team USA vs. France. 6:30 here on the West Coast.
6:32: 12 seconds in and Team USA comes up with a steal. Going to go out on a limb and say that’s going to be a trend.
6:33: Here’s another problem for Team France, no Joakim Noah means very little rim protection. Somehow they’re smaller than Team USA. It may be Kevin Seraphin time soon (4-0 Team USA)
6:35: A Spurs player is on the board! Boris Diaw turnover.
6:36: Tony Parker avoids a trap, gets in to the lane, gets an assist to Gelabale (6-2 Team USA).
6:38: A healthy Chris Paul makes an out of shape Tony Parker look a little silly, leading to a Tyson Chandler lay up.
6:39: Whoa! A Parker missed tear drop turns in to a 64-foot assist to Kevin Durant (11-5 Team USA).
6:40: Parker misses a jumper (he told Doug Collins his goggles are messing with his shot a bit) but Diaw takes advantage of no Chandler and gets the tip-in (13-7 Team USA).
6:41: Unleash the De Colo!
6:42: His shot may be off a bit, but nothing will get you going like having Carmelo Anthony guard you on a pick-and-roll switch. Parker converts a three point play (15-10 Team USA).
6:43: Nando misses a three. Overreact.
6:44: Parker is still good even with the rec specs. De Colo just missed Parker on a pass 30-feet away from the basket. OVERREACT!
6:45: HERE COMES KEVIN SERAPHIN! A Frenchman I actually like.
6:46: Russell Westbrook crosses over Nando, hits an off balance jumper. Get used to that rook.
6:46: Parker is a problem for Team USA. He's single handily keeping France in this game by getting into the paint (20-15 Team USA).
6:48: SERAPHIN BLOCK!
6:49: Neither team playing very well right now. As I say that De Colo forces a charge on Deron Williams. Nice play by him. He’s also laying off Westbrook, who is looking to drive, which allows him to stay in front of him better. De Colo's doing a nice job so far.
6:52: Craig Sager is wearing a regular old NBC Olympic polo. I’m not really sure what to do right now. Close game by the way (21-18).
6:56: France’s strategy right now: foul Chandler, wait for bad FIBA officials to bail them out on the other end. Working so far.
6:57: There’s a “Bokolo” and “De Colo” playing for Team France. Is that like “Gonzales” and “Gonzalez”?
6:58: First quarter is done, Team USA looked crappy and is up one (22-21). Parker is playing well, Diaw has two points, three rebounds, so pretty much a "Boris Diaw" type of first quarter. Nando looked bothered by Team USA's athleticism, but didn't play horribly.
7:02: Kobe Bryant draws a foul on De Colo in the post. Kobe used about 17 different moves on that play, finally got Nando to bite on an up-fake.
7:03: Doug Collins just compared Manu Ginobili and De Colo as it relates to their draft position. Don’t jinx us Collins!
7:05: For better or worse, Kobe has gone into “I’M KOBE F’ING BRYANT” mode. Had taken four straight shots for Team USA until Chris Paul put a stop to that by taking Bokolo (Gonzales) to the basket for the foul.
7:06: Collins just talked about how FIBA has changed from a trapezoid lane to a standard American lane. Says NBA big men weren't as effective with the trapezoid. Tim Duncan’s “FIBA sucks” quote comes to mind. If only he were a few years younger.
7:08: Parker comes back in as France hasn't scored in the second quarter before the other Pietrus gets a lay up (33-23 Team USA).
7:09: It would appear Joey Crawford has taken over the souls of all three FIBA refs. Whistles left and right. I’m waiting for an emphatic double technical. The latest foul gets Diaw to line, he makes 1-of-2 (33-24 Team USA).
7:11: Durant destroys a Diaw jump hook, sends the ball out to Batum 35-feet from the basket with a second left on the shot clock and Westbrook clobbers Batum as he’s throwing up a prayer. Three shots. Glad you’re here, Russ… (33-26 Team USA)
7:13: Coach K has unleashed the Beard. James Harden will gladly take advantage of the Joey Crawford Memorial All-Stars.
7:17: Spurs fans see Kevin Love hit a three and think “Matt Bonner can do that. He’s got it in him.” I’m actually pretty sure no Spurs fan thinks that anymore.
7:18: By the way, someone on the Team USA bench got T’d up for “talking.” So it’s true, Crawford has remotely taken over officiating for this game (45-32 Team USA).
7:20: Parker gets posted up by LeBron on a switch, wets himself, commits a foul in two seconds (48-35 Team USA).
7:21: France big guy Ali Traore gets an and-one on Love, who international Crawford is picking on this quarter. Mortal lock the Spurs draft this guy in the second round next June.
7:22: LeBron throws it right to De Colo on a fast break. De Colo will credit for a steal on that, but it was just a knucklehead pass by the MVP (52-36 Team USA).
7:25: De Colo replies in kind, passing the ball to Love (No, Nando, the big white guy you’re playing with in San Antonio won’t be on the block, ever) which leads to a Harden missed three at the buzzer (52-36 Team USA at the half). I’m now going to take a nap, chug a Dr. Pepper or do a line of something. Either way I’ll be ready for the second half.
7:40: We’re back! Durant hits another three, followed by a Parker jumper. So exactly like a the Western Conference Finals except for the fact that Parker is being aggressive (58-38 Team USA).
7:44: Bryant gets Ronny Turiaf on him on a freaking island and launches a 25-foot contested three. Time for another trip to Germany?
7:47: I feel like I haven’t talked about LeBron enough (I blame the lack of sleep). He’s been awesome today. Ultimate floor general out there, which is amazing to say with Paul on the floor.
7:48: Parker is just getting pulverized on these switches that end with him getting posted by LeBron, Kobe or ‘Melo. France has to get him some help.
7:49: Boris gets torched on an alley-oop to LeBron. Not his fault, unless you want to blame him for LeBron being a freak of nature (66-45 Team USA).
7:56: With France getting clobbered, probably a good time to pull Parker. He looks tired and there’s no need to wear him out when France needs to get through this medal round. That’ll also mean a heavy dose of De Colo.
8:01: Love puts the Americans up 27 to end the third quarter. Blowouts aren’t good for guys on very little sleep (78-51 Team USA).
8:03: London arena playing Macarena. What the hell is happening right now?
8:03 Sager just said Parker told him he’s completely out of shape thanks to Chris Brown and Drake. Yet another reason not the buy their stuff. Well, don’t buy Chris Brown’s because he sucks.
8:05: Nando’s running point right now. Picks up an assist on a pick-and-roll (80-53).
8:06: De Colo misses another three. Could be a blip, could be who he is, (I haven’t seen nearly enough of him) but Nando’s shot hasn’t looked good today.
8:08: Westbrook throws a lazy, stupid pass to De Colo, who takes it to the other end for a lay-up, which is goaltended by Russ. What team is he playing for???
8:08: In other news… UNIBROW UNLEASHED!!!
8:09: Coach K, PISSED about the Westbrook turnover, benches Westbrook in favor of Paul.
8:10: UNIBROW BLOCK
8:11: UNIBROW OFFENSIVE REBOUND
8:12: UNIBROW DOESN’T JUMP ON ALLEY-OOP ATTEMPT. TURNOVER.
8:13: Nice quick pick-and-roll by Nando leads to a Traore bucket. UNIBROW MISSED DUNK ON ALLEY-OOP. De Colo sinks a three (finally). UNIBROW ALLEY OOP!
8:13: Collins talking about how De Colo is going to have to hit open 3’s if he wants to see court time for the Spurs. I’m reserving judgment on De Colo’s shooting at this point.
8:15: Andre Iguadola defends De Colo into a terrible shot. Welcome to the league, rook.
8:16: Bob Fitzgerald calls Harden the ultimate patriot because of his Abraham Lincoln impersonation. Hilarious.
8:19: Westbrook takes De Colo in isolation, gets the foul. Thought it was a bit of a bail out. De Colo’s done nice work on Westbrook today.
8:20: Coach K not wanting any sort of let down, has Paul running point with two minutes left in the game. Hilarious and awesome at the same time.
8:21: Nice lay up by De Colo driving to the basket off a double team (95-69 Team USA).
8:23: Not that he’s going to have to play him much, but Iguadola has eaten De Colo up when he’s defended him.
8:23: A few minutes ago, Diaw took Davis baseline with a nice spin move. Guessing that’s going to happen to Unibrow a few times this coming season.
8:24: Diaw drives the lane like he’s running in bullet time, gets a lay up. Ball game. Team USA beats France 98-71.
8:25: Every member of Team USA greets First Lady Michelle Obama after the game. Pretty awesome moment for everyone. Also, arena is playing Chris Brown right now. Any chance the Brits are just trolling Tony Parker?
Final thought: Parker looked really good in the first quarter and pretty sluggish the rest of the game. He finished with 10 points and four turnovers. It’s fine, he hasn't had really anytime to get back in game shape. As an American I’ll say “Thanks Chris Brown.” As a Spurs fan I’ll say “Die in a fire, Chris Brown.” Diaw looked well, like "Boris Diaw" and did "Boris Diaw" things. Nine points, six rebounds (zero assists oddly enough).
Big story for Spurs fans is the play of Nando De Colo. He wasn't great, but he wasn't awful either. He was definitely thrown off by the speed of Team USA when he was trying to make a decision in the first half. He was 3-9 from the field, 1-5 from three, and he had five turnovers that were all his fault (or Andre Iguadola’s fault). That’ll be important to watch going forward. The good news is he wasn't the defensive pox we all feared he would be. He also did a good job creating a shot in the paint or kicking it out to an open man. This was especially true in the second half. That skill will likely translate well into the regular season, especially if the Spurs have him play some back-up point.
your being really generous in your assessmentt of Nando.. i thought he was really ineffective, i saw potential but i have a really tough time seeing him contribute to the spurs next season.. however, I've been very critical of him, so maybe i don't give him enough of the benefit of the doubt... guess i'll have to watch more of him...
@staydwninsatwn I was probably being a bit optimistic. Hoping he can be more effective against second units who aren't elite defenders, but who knows. His second half was a lot better than his first half, but 5 TOs...