Okay, the day is finally here! We now finally get to see the Team USA vs. Brazil basketball doubleheader as America's best basketball players play against their Brazilian counterparts at Verizon Center in Washington, DC, home of the Washington Wizards, the Washington Capitals, the Washington Mystics, and the Georgetown University men's basketball team.
Today I will be a kid in the candy store as I get to see the USA's best basketball players, even if they don't play for the Wizards or Mystics, even if they were players that cause me misery, like players that the Mystics were a pick away from in the draft, or NBA stars who play for Miami, or OKC, or Dallas and make me cry to sleep game after game after the Wizards get embarrassed and have almost no hope of improving in the long term. I still admire nearly all of their games, and today, I get to show that appreciation by cheering for them this afternoon and evening.
Here is the open thread for you for this afternoon's and tonight's games.
1. Brazil Women's Olympic Basketball Team at USA Women's Olympic Basketball Team, 5:30 PM ET/2:30 PM PT
Game will be on ESPN2, and online on ESPN3.
Team Brazil has two WNBA players on its roster, with Iziane Castro Marques who is a free agent and last played for the Dream, and Erika de Souza who is on the Dream.
Team USA, which features six Connecticut alumnae and their head coach, Geno Auriemma, is easily the most talented team in the world. There have been some players who have sat out a number of games, including Diana Taurasi and local native Angel McCoughtry. Okay, kind of local, because she's B-More. Given that I haven't heard anything about replacements, I expect that they will be in uniform and will play.
The question for the day is this and please forgive my cynicism. How many folks will show up at 5:30 to watch a women's basketball game? Granted Mystics season ticket holders will watch the game, myself included, but I predict a quarter to half will watch the game considering how down the Mystics are. But then again, the tickets for this game are super expensive, and there is value in watching the BEST WNBA players play on one team, and DC loves big events.
The Mystics will be represented with assistant coach Jennifer Gillom as an assistant for Team USA.
2. Brazil Men's Olympic Basketball Team at USA Men's Olympic Basketball Team, approximately 8:00 PM ET/5:00 PM PT.
Team Brazil Roster (Portuguese) | Brazil won the Olympic Super Four Tournament on their soil | Team USA Roster | A picture of the most versatile players on this team and the team I mentioned in the first game | Last Thursday, they destroyed the Dominican Republic | NBA.com Coverage
Game will be on ESPN2, and online on ESPN3. If the women's game goes to overtime or otherwise goes past 8 PM, this game will start approximately 30 minutes after the end of the women's basketball game.
If you read the second last link and watched last Thursday's game, you read that Kevin Durant came off the bench and he was money. When one of the NBA's top three players comes off the bench because the starters are just as good as he is... pretty scary. That must be why we're talking about Dream Team 1992 vs. Team USA 2012 now.
Nate and I both have said that this roster, while really versatile and talented at the guard and wing spots, lacks low post depth. Not surprisingly, when LA Clippers center (for this team he's a center) Blake Griffin got a torn meniscus after Wizards guard John Wall stepped on his foot in practice, Hornets rookie center Anthony Davis was appointed to take his place.
Brazil has a low post lineup headlined with a rotation of Nene, Anderson Varejao, and Tiago Splitter that pretty much plays to the USA's weaknesses. In addition, guard Leandro Barbosa can still space the floor for them pretty darn well. If Brazil can slow this game down and pound the ball, an easy USA victory won't be so easy, even if America's guard and wing versatility is the best in the world.
Like the women's basketball game, there are no Wizards for Team USA. But the Wizards fared better than the Mystics in this game because Nene will be on Team Brazil, and John Wall was on the guinea pig team earlier. . Kevin Durant hails from the hometown area and should receive the most cheers of all players. Carmelo Anthony is from Baltimore.
This game will be a full house unlike most Wizards games. Trust me.
So that's all I have to say. I am not happy with the Mystics and have ranted way too many times, maybe even to the extent where I'm ranting to rant, and I'm not happy that the Wizards have to play against the Heat in the Southeast Division, let alone the Eastern Conference, so there isn't much to be happy about at all locally with the pro basketball teams.
Those complaints can continue tomorrow because today is more important than that. As an American, my country's best players are playing for me and I will support them to the fullest. NOTHING is going to wipe that smile off my face while I watch these two games this afternoon and evening. NOTHING!!!!!