No one is invincible
PARIS (George Eddy's International Show) - So, an experienced selection from Turkey put a scare into the USA and its young NBA stars with their zone defense and sharpshooting for three quarters.
Turkey were leading at halftime, held on until the beginning of the fourth quarter but as we've seen so many times before since 2008, the levee broke and the USA fastbreaked and dunked its way to a 21-point victory.
The USA staff is probably secretly happy that this happened because it will keep everyone focused after that ridiculously easy win over Finland, the type of win that can push you to let your guard down.
The youthful inside tandem of Anthony "Diamond" Davis and surprising Kenneth "Ferocious Dunk Machine" Faried has been impressive so far, adapting much better than Tim Duncan in 2004 to FIBA officiating, and calming rapidly any qualms the USA fans might have had about the quality of their big men.
Even if the USA were off the mark in the first half, how can one not be amazed at their potential to bomb away from three-point range with marksmen like Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, James Harden and Kyrie Irving? The big question remains, will all that be enough to beat Spain's Golden Generation at home? My response, maybe!
I am commentating Group A (the strongest pool by far) for French TV and Spain's first two wins were like a bulldozer rolling over an anthill. The most surprisng thing is the way Marc Gasol has transformed his body this summer which is more proof that Spain is on a serious mission here to win it all!
Marc has turned all his baby fat into man muscle now and he even dribbles behind his back while going coast to coast a la Magic Johnson on some fast breaks!
Spain is the meeting of the twin towers and small ball. They are as long on talent as they are on basketball shorts.
Just like the USA, they mostly play a modern-style three-guard offense around some combination of the Gasol brothers and high-flying fan favorite Serge Ibaka. Their shared experience over the years together creates a fluid and rhytmic offense where everyone can situate his teammates even with their eyes closed.
In the next three Group A games we will see if Spain can dominate in the same way against much tougher opponents. This remains to be seen, but I think they can.
They can play a Showtime uptempo style or a grind-it-out and slow-down style of ball. Their plethora of outstanding guards is only matched by their three giants who play so well together, passing and finishing one meter or one floor HIGHER than everyone else.
The Gasols' passing is infectious and all the players are altruistic. Ibaka is exactly the type of mobile, athletic player that Spain will need against the USA and the way he has developped into a sure-fire outside shooter is an example for any young big man trying to succeed in today's NBA.
Pau Gasol looks once again like the ultimate offensive weapon in FIBA basketball as he is a fish back in water with his Spanish buddies after two highly-disappointing seasons with the Lakers without Kobe Bryant. He's going to shine here and then be a cornerstone for a winning attitude in Chicago as the Bulls will probably meet up with Kyrie and LeBron James in the Eastern Conference Finals next summer.
Ok I know you are just dying for me to make a risky pick concerning who will win a Final between Spain and the USA, so here it is. I am going with Spain's experience, talent and homecourt advantage because the Spanish will be more battle-tested when they reach the Final.
This being said, if the USA end up winning the Final on Spanish soil without Kevin Durant and LeBron, they will amply deserve the title of World Champions!
FIBA's columnists write on a wide range of topics relating to basketball that are of interest to them. The opinions they express are their own and in no way reflect those of FIBA.
FIBA takes no responsibility and gives no guarantees, warranties or representations, implied or otherwise, for the content or accuracy of the content and opinion expressed in the above article.