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Scouting Spain

Very briefly, I am watching a replay of the Spain vs. Germany matchup from earlier this week in anticipation for their showdown with our boys in Red, White and Blue.  A few things stand out.

First of all, Germany isn't very good.  Their offense is mostly Dirk isos with the occasional dump into Kaman, who made some nice plays, but got in trouble when he tried to put the ball on the floor (sound familiar).  Very poor guard play.  So Spain basically only had to keep an eye on two guys, one of them a poor ball-handler.  They forced Dirk into a lot of bad shots.  It is hard to say whether that was due to Spanish defense, or the fact that Dirk had no one to pass the ball to anyway.   Probably the latter.

The Spanish guards are quick.  Always weaving a maze around their bigs in the typical Euro style.   As they penetrate, the Gasols (there are two - the younger one is pretty good) roll towards the basket as we saw Pau do a lot with the Lakers.  All of the motion creates easy baskets and open looks for their shooters, of which they have a few.  They also do a lot of slow sets and posting up.  The U.S. bigs will be busy defensively.   Ball pressure by our guards will be key.

Defensively, their guards are push overs for the most part.  I know that is strong language, but they are going to have a very difficult time guarding on the ball against Paul, Kidd and Williams.  I say no chance.  Their best bet will be to sag back and stop penetration, forcing the U.S. to shoot from outside.  That is, of course, if they are able to whether our defensive pressure and stop the fast-break. 

So, my "keys to victory" for the USA are to keep their bigs from establishing position, put pressure on the ball to force turnovers, and hit some outside shots.   If they can do those things, I think the US should win comforably.  If the shots aren't falling, and their guargds can weather our storm, it could be close.

There will be an open thread for this one at 7am, which is the time that it will play live.  You can watch online here.  Otherwise, the game will be shown on NBC on tape delay at 10 am.  But by then we will already know who won.