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Franchise thinks that Jorge, Marc and Pau have their work cut out for them the rest of the way...

Franchise thinks that Jorge, Marc and Pau have their work cut out for them the rest of the way...

Well that was slightly anti-climactic wasn’t it?

Not that we weren’t warned by some of our Spanish readers that this wouldn’t exactly be the showdown some were hoping for but an almost 40 point rout?

I don’t care what cards the Spaniards didn’t want to show in this preview match, Spain right now can’t hold a candle to this US squad. USA just seems so focused, especially on the defensive end of the court, that I don’t think they’re going to be given a test the rest of the way. Coach K has these guys playing like their lives depend on a gold medal and every single player is so completely zoned in that it’s scary.

The United States stars even got things going from long-range in this one, their real sore spot so far in the Olympics, as they knocked down seven of their first 10 attempts from downtown.

Beyond the US though, I think I’d be a bit concerned if I was rooting for the Spanish National Team. I’m not even convinced at this point that Spain is the second-best team in the tourney! The pieces are there, but does it seem to anyone else that the club is still trying to figure out things like rotations and roles? How else do you explain a completely unacceptable 28 turnovers? Yes, as mentioned the US’s defense was tenacious to say the least, but if you watched the game you also saw the Spaniards making a lot of unforced errors and it just didn’t seem like individual players were playing to their strengths. For instance the Raptors’s Jose Calderon was a putrid one for nine from the field but a number of these shots were outside of his usual game flow. The one make he did have was a ridiculously tough turn-around jumper, something I’ve yet to see him even attempt in the NBA!

Other players like Juan Carlos Navarro weren’t much better (two for 10) and while standings-wise the loss doesn’t mean much, for me the match was the final nail in the coffin in terms of any doubts I had about the US’s Gold Medal aspirations. I think it will take a major collapse for them not to run through the rest of the field and capture the top spot when all is said and done.

One final note about the match, it was great to see Jorge Garbajosa back in action. After such a terrible injury it must just be a joy to be back out there competing with this team and all of us here at the HQ wish him much success as he resumes his international career.

Do I want him back on the Raptors? After watching him play throughout this Olympic games, I’d have to say no thanks. I haven’t come away as impressed as others have and today was a good example of how he’s got a ways to go in terms of quickness if he did want to re-compete against NBA caliber forwards.

Moving on to more Raptors-specific news, Chris Bosh, who looked solid again today, especially at the defensive end for the US, and his teammates will be off to Cleveland to kick off their 2008-09 NBA season. The Toronto Raptors released their preseason schedule yesterday afternoon and CB4 will face three current US teammates in their eight matches starting with an October 7th date in Cleveland against Lebron James and the Cavs.

Here is the rest of the preseason schedule:

Wednesday, October 8 vs. New York (in Toronto at 7:00 p.m.)

Sunday, October 12 vs. Philadelphia (in Toronto at 1:00 p.m.)

Tuesday, October 14 vs. CSKA Moscow (in Toronto at 7:00 p.m.)

Thursday, October 16 vs. Minnesota (in Toronto at 7:00 p.m.)

Saturday, October 18 vs. LA Clippers (in Los Angeles at 7:30 p.m.)

Sunday, October 19 vs. LA Lakers or FC Barcelona (in Los
Angeles at 7:30 or 10:30 p.m.)

Tuesday, October 21 vs. Denver Nuggets (in Edmonton at 9:00 p.m.)

So off to Edmonton for the final preseason game as was rumoured to be the case, and possibly two matches against international opponents. It’s an interesting slate of teams that Toronto will face as both the T-Wolves, Clippers and Nuggets (and the Lakers if they replace FC Barcelona on the schedule) aren’t exactly conference rivals.

Finally, one of our readers forwarded this piece to me from The Blowtorch and thought I’d pass it on for some humourous weekend reading. The styles are dead on and as a follow-up, it would be funny if someone ran a post on socks…

FRANCHISE