Team USA Must Set the Tone Against Spain

Team USA has a big showdown with Spain tomorrow afternoon (2:30 Eastern time to be exact!). Team USA is coming off of a big 105-78 victory over Argentina. What does Team USA need to fix after winning by 27?

Team USA simply needs to come out much stronger. Set the tone, lead, rather than follow the tone Spain will try to set. Spain is coming away from a big 92-67 win over France. Remember that France gave Team USA a battle in group play, losing only by three (without Tony Parker playing!).

How Team USA plays in the first quarter will dictate how the game will go. If Team USA gets in the head of their opponents early, you can just hand Team USA the gold. It’s win or go without the gold now, so Spain will come out with a sense of urgency. Will Team USA be up from the get go?

They ought to be, if they want the gold. Moving the ball more offensively would really help. The ball movement has been porous at times and while the spacing has been solid, the flow to Team USA’s offense is lacking. Off the ball movement will be imperative too. Getting Klay Thompson moving and setting off the ball screens (back screens) would be awesome.

Another factor is defending Spain’s front-line. Pau Gasol is bound to want go off in this game (especially after his 5 point flop against France) and DeAndre Jordan’s response (along with

DeMarcus Cousins) will be crucial.
Team USA has quite the task with Spain. Spain is long, athletic and they spread the floor. Team USA is stacked and should be able to meet them head on. That being said, talent doesn’t trump hustle. Team USA needs to bring the intangibles from the get go. Dive for 50-50 balls, play aggressive defense and get in the heads of Spain.

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