2008 Olympic Basketball Day One: Inside the Box Score

When the NBA is in session Kelly Dwyer runs a excellent series of posts called "Behind the box score". To be honest I'm not sure how he watches that much basketball. Well in a somewhat new tradition I'm going to occasionally write "Inside the box score" posts. Pretty much the same thing except far less insight and anyone could do it. Regardless here goes.

Russia/Iran: Any time only 6 players on a squad score (and 2 combine for 5 points) they better be prolific if their team has any chance of winning. Unfortunately for Iran that was not the case. Factor in the Iranians shooting 38.3% from the floor, compared to Russia's 50% clip with significantly more shots, and Iran was in trouble. Russia also enjoyed a significant advantage in the turnover department - 10 to Iran's 22. So while Iran had the advantage in 3-point shooting and rebounds and assists were a wash, Russia earned a decisive 71-49 victory. Bonus points because American J.R. Holden is listed as Dzhon-Robert Kholden.

Germany/Angola: Chris Kaman and Dirk Nowitzki combined for 47 points. That's impressive in a 40 minutes game. Meanwhile the Germans were far more efficient from beyond the 3-point arc (11-20 vs. 9-29). And while the Angolans had 4 fewer turnovers they were absolutely murdered on the boards - 39-22. Long story short Germany pulled out a 95-66 victory.

Spain/Greece: For the most part the Spaniards and Greeks were more or less equal across the majority of the statistical categories. So the fact that Spain was 22-25 from the line compared to Greece's 11-24, stands out. That doesn't account for the entire 15-point margin of victory, but it certainly played a role. Even if the Greeks hit just 10 more, it's a lot more interesting. And yes I still have to watch this game. I was derailed by an epic cookout tonight.

Lithuania/Argentina: You could make the argument that both of these teams are on the wrong side of a cycle of stellar international play. You could also make the case that Lithuania is an excellent 3-point shooting team and Argentina is average at best in that regard. And the 3-point percentages from this one do tell a story. Lithuania connected on 40% from beyond the arc (10-25), while Argentina was far less successful at 23% (5-22). Ouch. Of course this write up does not come close to doing justice to what went down between these two squads. So how about I distract you with a LeBron James ripping a shot out of the air with both hands? I apologize in advance for the quality of the clip:

A Crazy Block by Lebron against China (via ANY9309)

USA/China: I wish I could go back and redo my answers for that roundtable over at Upside and Motor. First off the Carlos Boozer will see more time than Chris Bosh prediction is downright awful. More importantly it's all about LeBron. Forget about the box score. Yes I'm still worried about Team USA's gambling ways on defense, even if it led to 14 steals to China's 2. And the 3-point shooting, particularly by guys not named "Michael Redd" is a concern. Furthermore, 72% from the charity stripe is nothing special either. Just let the record show that LeBron did things on a court that boggle the mind. I'm not even sure the YouTube clip embedded above makes his top 3 plays. He's an absolute freak of nature. Sorry Kobe, Carmelo, and everything else.

Croatia/Australia: Yes the Croatians were more successful and efficient from deep. And the strong front line of the Boomers did not pull a Germany and dominate the glass. A +7 edge is an advantage, just not a back breaking one. Also Croatia actually had more turnovers. At the end of the day, in addition to their 3-point shooting advantage, the Croatians were also better from the field in terms of % and made shots. In addition Croatia's +9 advantage in terms of assists did not bode well for Australia either. Ultimately the Croatians cruised to a 97-82 victory. Give credit where credit is due.

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