Today we have the Men's matchup in these Olympic Games that everyone has been waiting for. USA v Greece was merely a taster -- a chance for the Redeem Team to get some form of redemption. However, everyone knows that the real redemption will not come until Team USA silences all doubters and gets on that private jet back to the land of the free with Gold Medals around their necks.
Spain represents the strongest challenge to USA standing on that middle podium at the end of these Games. This game is not important in terms of getting to the next round -- both teams will do that regardless. However, these are the likely combatants come the Gold Medal game and a huge mental edge will be attained by which ever team can come away with the W.
What can be said about these teams that hasn't already been said? Both have been covered in so much detail, both on and off the court... from unflattering team photos to battles for point guard minutes. The blogosphere and mainstream media have been all over it like a horizontally challenged child on M&Ms.
One thing to note is that Spain is very adept at handling that daunted USA press. They have one of the lowest turnover guards in NBA history in Jose Calderon manning the point and teenage phenom Ricky Rubio backing him up, along with savvy play from Juan Carlos Navarro and Rudy Fernandez. Spain will use that pick-and-roll like crazy, with the Gasol brothers rolling to the basket and giving Dwight Howard fits -- trying to get him in foul trouble.
This Spanish team should handle Team USA's strengths better than anyone else has to date. Whether they can handle them to the extent that they are winners is another story.
No doubt Kobe and LeBron will be very fired up to prove a point here. Presumably we will also get a taste from Coach K and co as to what his rotations in crunch time will be. Will we see a reduction in talisman Jason Kidd's minutes in favour of the in-form CP3 and Deron combo? Will we continue to see DWade burn up the court with his unbelievable penetration?
We all wait in anticipation. If you want to get into the spirit of the game to its full extent, regardless of whether you have vision of the game or not, I highly recommend you surf over to Ball Don't Lie blog where Skeets, KD and the gang will be live-blogging, as they have to critical acclaim for previous matches. Matching comedy with basketball -- there's nothing better is there?