By Craig Kwasniewski
USA Basketball rolls South Korea 116-63 in its final warm-up to the World Championships. There was no let-up as USA led the entire game and continued it's hard-nosed defensive-based gameplan. As much as this was a good sign, playing against a sub-par opponent could prove fools gold as the real games start this weekend. Here's some observations from the game:
South Korea Sucks: Like I mentioned, playing one of the worst international teams prior to the World Championships may provide a false sense of confidence for Team USA. Korea flat out sucked! First came the out-of-control defense that actually led to two Korean players hurting themselves in collisions with their own teammates. Then you had the poor ball handling skills as LeBron and D-Wade were constantly stripping the Korean backcourt for breakaways. However, the crappy offense was the final straw. Bill Walton put it best when he said:
It appears that the strategy for Korea is to throw up these WIIILD ill-advised shots from the perimeter and then race down long rebounds that nobody can get a read on!
Well said Big Red! Still, the ESPN announcers were making so many excuses for the poor play of the Koreans (young team, rebuilding, looking to the future, etc.), I felt like I was listening to the Lakers radio broadcast.
Ha Seung Jin: One of my favorite stiffs in the NBA, Ha Seung Jin, played for South Korea. He brought his A-game with him: dropped passes, small feet, giving up a TON of lay-ups (see the photos). I'm happy to see that his skillz haven't diminished this summer. Have fun Milwaukee!
Dwight Howard Block: Defensive highlight of the night! One of the Korean players scooped up that ball and fired up a three pointer from the corner. Dwight Howard flew at him from the lane a swatted the three pointer five rows behind the shooter.
D-Wade's Adjustment: I've been cracking on Wade for all the traveling calls, but I have to give him credit; he's adjusted his game to the international refs. He didn't get called for walking at all. On drives to the hole, Wade is either taking an extra dribble or jumping off sooner. I guess it's time to lower the over-under on traveling calls on Wade.
Bruce Bowen Scores! It only took five exhibition games against below-average opponents, but Bruce Bowen scored his first points on a flying lay-up in the fourth quarter. Then he dropped in another bucket a minute later carrying Team USA to the victory. Gosh, without Bowen's efforts, Team USA might have only won by 51 points... America thanks YOU, Bruce Bowen!
Wednesday Night Rec-League Moment: Bringing the noise, Korean "baller" Kim Min Soo threw down a thunderous dunk and slapped the backboard with both hands in celebration...
cutting USA's lead down to 112-62 with 51 seconds left in the game. Did I mention that Korea sucked?