USA vs. Turkey: Live Blogging

Team USA takes their show to China for their 2nd of 5 pre Olympic exhibition games

Team USA takes their show to China for their 2nd of 5 pre Olympic exhibition games, this one against Turkey (photo from Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE, found here)

And we’re here. Good morning to all. This will be a mostly live blog of Team USA’s first pre Olympic tune-up game being played in China. Now, to the action:

  • A little internet delay, so here’s your recap of the first few minutes. ‘Bron’s back (starting in place of Wade), and he looks focused. Hedo Turkoglu won’t be playing today. USA looks solid coming out. LeBron drives to the cup, Melo splashes a J, Howard turns the ball over. About right.
  • Turkey has a couple of recognizable players. International basketball really is making a huge impact on the NBA.
  • Bron hits a three, Melo hits his second from nearly the same spot as the first.
  • Turkey is wearing soccer length jersey tops, and half of their players have them untucked. I don’t think I approve of that very much; it just looks sloppy.
  • Jason Kidd continues his inexplicable high shooting percentage from last year’s FIBA tournament as he hits a top of the key three.
  • Team USA then promptly gives up an alley-oop lay up on D as Turkey beats them down the court.
  • Chris Bosh hits a very Bosh-esque lay up (awkward looking, body turned in a weird angle) off of a feed from Kobe, putting the score at 20-15 US.
  • LeBron drops a gorgeous dime to Bosh for a quick two.
  • Turkey quickly misses a three, US goes the other way but botches a Kobe to James oop that would have blown up the arena, and Turkey comes back with a quick lay-up.
  • Dywane Wade, checked into the game for 5 seconds, uses his international play go-to move: the charge. And it’s good! Turkey ball.
  • Moments later Wade goes baseline and hits a pretty reverse, prompting this from insane play-by-play guy Rick Kamla: “Dywane Wade with a sexy move to the hoop.” I knew there was a reason I just got goosebumps.
  • Howard picks up a foul trying to block a shot that had no chance of going in. He picks up more stupid fouls that way, either swiping low at the ball as the player tries to bring it up to shoot or reaching across their body going for a block. That could be a major downfall for the team during the Olympics.
  • Arslan, shot clock running down, wets a pull up three in Melo’s face, putting Turkey up 27-24 and extending their run to 8-0.
  • Wade utilizes the “Euro step,” that move perfected by Manu that, according to Kamla, “looks like a travel, but is not.” No, half the time when Manu does it, it is.
  • Carmelo gets a three point play off of yet another jump-in-the-air-and-whip-a-two-handed-pass-at-the-last-second Kobe feed.
  • Turkey hits a corner three to close the gap to 31-30, USA, which is how the first quarter ends.
  • I utilize the wonders of DVR to make myself breakfast without missing any action. What, it’s not as if you’re reading this in real time anyway?! Shut up.
  • And we’re back. Start of the second, USA up 1. I am completely unsurprised the game is this close. It seems to be a trend in these international games; the teams hang with the US for a quarter or two, but eventually the overall talent spaces out the gap. Except when we lose.
  • Chris Paul drives, throws a oop to Howard, who mishandles, recovers, dunks, makes backboard cry.
  • And I just made the Stephon Marbury Amare-just-dunked-on-Olowakandi when Turkish guard Arslan, leading a 3 on 1, ball faked the hell out of Deron Williams and finished with a gorgeous tear drop.
  • “Carmelo took it strong. You heard him grunting, and he generates a couple of free throws. That’s how Carmelo rolls here in international play.” Wow. Melo gets to the line to hit both freebies. 35-32 Redeem Team.
  • Turkey with a quick backdoor cut lay-in. US the other way, Paul to Howard oop.
  • We have yet to see Redd so far. I’m pretty sure dead eye three point shooting’s a good thing, but I’m no coach of Duke or anything.
  • D Williams, LeBron, and Kobe run the 3 on 2 break to perfection, with Kobe capping off a touch pass from LBJ for two. Bron really looks good today. He was nearly unstoppable at the FIBA Tournament last summer, and looks the same today.
  • 43-36 USA coming out of a TO with 4:40 left. Jason Kidd turns it over trying to feed Kobe. Kidd has had far too many turnovers in the last game and a half, something that seems to have carried over from this past season in NJ/Dallas. Thus far, Kidd has not been the great veteran presence that all the “experts” were talking about prior to these games.
  • LeBron literally just takes the ball from the ghostly Ilyasova, prompting Ilyasova to intentionally foul Bron to stop the fast break. LBJ’s a monster.
  • Kobe with an awful oop to DSOIHFOSIDF@#$#$OIHDSFSSF*$&(&(&!!!!! LEBRON JAMES!!!!
  • Excuse me, I just blacked out.
  • Howard with yet another two-hand tomawhawk. USA is pulling away, with the score now 52-37, 51 seconds left in the half.

2nd Half:

  • USA 54 – Turkey 37 to start the 3rd quarter.
  • Kobe with a leading alley to Dwight Howard, whose nickname, according to Kamla, is “D. Howitzer.” I’m thinking he just made that up.
  • Turkey a miss, US the other way, Kidd a turnover.
  • The game just got really slow, thanks to plenty of Turkey fouls.
  • Dywane Wade with a nasty crossover, where he then rises up and drops a baseline dime to LeBron. That will need to be found on YouTube later.
  • A track meet has broken out, and Turkey doesn’t have a chance. The USA is up 78-55 of a patented Chris Paul floater.
  • Kobe Bryant just threw an alley-oop off the bounce to Carmelo Anthony. What is this, a Rookie/Sophomore game? I can’t believe that just happened in an actual game. Turkey’s name is fitting at this point.
  • With just under 3 minutes left in the third quarter, we have a Tayshaun Prince sighting. Welcome.
  • Oh Sweet Lord (nod to Murs), Dwight Howard just flew. Nothing beats Team USA for highlights.
  • 4th quarter now, with Team America up 89-61.
  • Wade is definitely back. His explosion and Flash like quickness have returned, and the just used his running step-over move that used to be his go-to on drives. Then he finished with a dunk. The Heat will be very interesting to watch this year. Maybe not good, but interesting.
  • And I just got really bored and stopped paying attention. Team USA wins in a blowout. Final score 114-82. No surprise here. Nothing really matters until the medal rounds, but it’s always good to see the squad look solid, even if the D is shaky at times.
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