Okay, by now we all already know that Team USA annihilated Nigeria by 83 points, 156-73. They posted new world records in point margin, 3-pointers, points and the most times a Nigerian looked solemnly at the camera in a two-hour time span.
They look like a team we all envisioned them to be; their pressure defense impedes any team from gaining confidence and, if they continue to make shots from everywhere on the floor, they won’t like a bonafide powerhouse. They will be one. It is clear, to say the least: They are the team to beat in the Olympics or dare I say, the hunters.
Their next likely victim will be Lithuania, who features a couple of NBA (or former) players — Linas Kleiza, Darius Songaila and burgeoning talent Jonas Valanciunas — and other quality depth. Sarunas Jasikevicius is an aged veteran yet he’s still productive enough to produce six assists per game in preliminary play.
Overall, this appears like it’ll be an interesting match. Some things of note:
1. How much will Team USA’s shooting efficiency inevitably drop? The United States posted an incredible 87.5 true shooting percentage which isn’t sustainable. There will be a fall from an incredible high note. When the Americans go cold, how will the clearly talented Lithuanian team fare?
2. Will team USA open the game strongly or is their match against Nigeria an aberration?
3. I’m curious to see how Lithuania employs Valanciunas. He’s playing just 10.67 minutes per game, and with the United States’ well documented lack of big men, will Lithuania use him more often? Ike Diogu scored 27 points against USA and he isn’t near the talent of Valanciunas.
In the end, the hunted will be pitted directly against the hunter, and the prey will need to forge an advantage to keep the insatiable hunter off their tail and, ideally, pull of a big upset.