So this is it this morning, Team USA against Argentina in what might be the world’s last chance at stopping what’s become a runaway team of red, white and blue.
No, Argentina doesn’t have the star power of the US, but they have played quite well and with the exception of slowed down Andres Nocioni, are boasting a healthier and more star-laden squad than they did at the Worlds.
The problem is, I don’t think it will make a lick of difference.
The US as I’ve previously mentioned, just seems so honed in on the gold that it will take a serious miracle game by the Argentineans to pull off the upset.
For those who regularly read the blog, "Doc’s Head Games," you may have seen an interesting piece recently, evaluating the individual productivity of the players making up the US basketball juggernaut. Topping the list were to no one’s surprise Dwyane Wade (in my opinion the team’s MVP) and Lebron James but not far behind in third? – none other than Toronto’s Chris Bosh.
In the second semi-final game just getting underway, Spain takes on a dangerous Lithuanian club and it sounds like the Spaniards will be without the services of Toronto Raptors’ point guard Jose Calderon. Jose of course suffered an injury in Spain’s win over Croatia in the semis and apparently Calderon has assured the Raps’ brass that he will not play again unless he’s 100 per cent healthy. He hasn’t warmed up for this match as of yet so it looks like he’ll at least be chilling until the gold medal match, should Spain win.
The injury is being called a "strained abductor" by Dinos’ Team Officials and while it’s not considered to be serious, this is exactly the type of injury that can linger for a long time if not given proper rest and treatment. Jose has been given treatment sessions and will continue to receive them but this has to be a concern as a Raptors’ fan. It’s one thing to have what looks like a trigger-happy Roko Ukic coming off the bench for 10 minutes a game next year, it’s entirely another for him to be playing a starting role should Jose land on the DL for a while.
While Bosh is viewed as the MVP of the Raptors for obvious reasons, it’s interesting to note that some basketball statisticians have actually ranked Calderon slightly higher in terms of team worth. So regardless of how factual this is, the bottom line is that Toronto can ill afford to have him out to start the season.
Oh…and by start of the season I mean in about two months time…
One player who must be watching this whole situation very closely is Jermaine O’Neal.
Sports Illustrated provided this excellent piece on his summer rehab recently and it sounds like he’s still putting in a yeoman’s effort in Vegas.
As was the case with previous articles on JO after the initial trade, it’s pretty hard not to get excited about the upcoming season when you read something like this. O’Neal sounds incredibly focused and ready to roll although the article made me wonder about one thing; what does type A blood have to do with eating red meat?
Marshall was waived by Oklahoma on Wednesday and is now looking for a place to call home for next season. Some of our readers were wondering if that might mean a return to Toronto and on paper, that does make some sense.
Considering the injury possibilities with Jermaine O’Neal and perhaps continued struggles by Andrea Bargnani, Marshall might be able to lend some veteran help. His ability to stretch defenses with his 3-point shooting could be an asset as well.
However there are two main problems with the Marshall idea.
First of all, even in limited minutes last year he hardly resembled the gunner who once knocked down twelve 3-pointers in a game against the 76ers.
In his split of time between Cleveland and Seattle, Marshall shot only 32 per cent from the field and 29 per cent from beyond the arc, not exactly numbers that scream "sign me."
The other problem?
The team’s bank account looks much like mine right now…empty.
On a final note turning back to the Olympics, a shout out to the Men’s Canadian Olympic relay team for their second place finish last night and advancement to the relay finals. A big shout in particular goes to PEI’s Jared Connaughton, a member of the relay team and one time speedy point guard at my high school, not to mention classmate of my sister. Hopefully he and the relay team can sprint all the way to gold.