Sports Outside the Beltway

USA Basketball Upset in Semis by Greeks

The “new approach” has failed at the FIBA championships.

The best the United States can hope for is yet another bronze medal.

Greece used a sizzling stretch of shooting across the middle two quarters to turn a 12-point deficit into a 14-point lead, and beat the Americans 101-95 Friday in the semifinals of the FIBA World Championship.

The Greeks (8-0) can add a world title to the European championship they won in 2005 with a victory over either Spain or Argentina in Sunday’s gold medal game. Those teams, also undefeated, met in Friday’s second game.

The Greeks — with no current NBA players on their roster — danced in a circle at halfcourt after their victory over an American team put together after a series of recent failures.

Well, those Dream Teams sure ain’t what they used to be.

How you can be done in by inept three point shooting when the line is so much closer than it is in the pro game confuses me, but then again, the US team hasn’t made sense in a while. We are the dominant basketball country, but cannot get to the finals in international competition.

Of course, we leave the field with our typical lack of sportsmanship:

The U.S. hasn’t even played for a world championship since winning the last of its three titles in Toronto in 1994. Mike Krzyzewski — who was looking for gold after winning bronze with the 1990 team — and a few American players walked to midcourt to congratulate the Greeks, while most of the U.S. quickly headed to the locker room.

Yeah, real classy guys. Way to embarass us again after an embarasing loss. We have not deserved to win the championship for years, and this confirms that. It reminds me a bit of England and soccer: as one of the top soccer playing countries, England cannot win a World Cup. Of course, in England’s case, it is a bit more understandable when you factor in the fact that there are two or three other world leagues on par with them. The NBA is the premeir basketball league, so we don’t even have that excuse.

Now we wait for the Olympics, when everyone is paying attention to the team again, to see if the US can rebound from this and actually win gold again. They play for bronze on Saturday.

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Well, the NBA is a truly international league and the stars from other countries tend to play in it. Further, international ball is an entirely different set of rules from the American game, for reasons I’ve never understood.

Still, the NBA is mostly Americans and you’d think we would be able to dominate on sheer basketball talent alone.

Posted by James Joyner | September 1, 2006 | 08:39 am | Permalink

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