August, 7, 2012
By Ryan Feldman
ESPN Stats & Info
ESPN Stats & Info
Christian Petersen/Getty ImagesTeam USA will face Australia in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.Team USA has won 47 straight games in international play and 14 straight Olympic games, but it won’t mean anything if the Americans can’t win three more and capture their 14th gold medal.
That road will continue on Wednesday with Australia, a team the Americans are 13-0 all-time against in FIBA tournaments. But the Aussies are hot, coming off a win over Group B winner Russia.
HOW CAN AUSTRALIA UPSET USA?
One of USA’s biggest strengths has been its transition offense, as the Americans lead all teams in transition points. Australia has held teams to the third-fewest points per transition play in Olympic play.
How about modeling what Lithuania did in its five-point loss to USA?
Lithuania defended the Americans’ isolations plays well, holding them to 7-of-21 shooting on 23 isolation plays. On the six isolation plays that Lithuania’s defense committed to the offensive player, USA shot just 1-for-6 on field-goal attempts. Meanwhile, Lithuania only ran three isolation plays.
WATCH OUT FOR RUSSIA
Russia was a Patty Mills buzzer-beater away from finishing pool play undefeated. The Russians may be the team that could pose the biggest threat to Team USA in the Gold Medal Game.
Team USA has 77 3-pointers in five games, which already ties its all-time record for 3-pointers in an Olympics, set in 2008. USA is shooting 46 percent on 3-point attempts, while no other team is shooting 40 percent.
Russia is defending the 3-point arc as well as any team in London. The Russians are holding opponents to 28.7 percent 3-point shooting, which leads all teams.
The Russians have held teams to the fewest points per transition play in Olympic play. They’ve held opponents to 38 percent shooting in transition, while every other team in the quarterfinals is allowing teams to shoot over 50 percent in transition.
USA’s half-court man defense has not been great. Of the quarterfinal teams, only Spain has allowed more points per play with its half-court man defense. Russia is the only team with a higher field-goal percentage than USA against half-court man defense.
THREE KEY STATS
• USA is averaging 117.8 points per game through pool play. USA’s all-time Olympic record is 117.3 points per game in 1992.
• LeBron James has scored 225 points in his Olympic career. He can become USA Basketball’s all-time points leader in Olympic play if he scores 56 more. David Robinson is the all-time leader with 280.
• Spain’s Pau Gasol leads everyone in scoring through pool play. Gasol led all scorers in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics.
He has a chance to become the second player ever to lead three straight Olympics in scoring. The only player to do so was Oscar Schmidt for Brazil in 1988, 1992 and 1996.
July, 25, 2012
By Ryan Feldman
ESPN Stats & Information
ESPN Stats & Information
Bob Donnan/US PresswireLeBron James and Team USA celebrated a 100-78 exhibition victory over Spain.Spain is widely considered Team USA’s toughest competition in the 2012 Olympics. But in USA’s final tune-up before London, the Americans made it look rather easy with a 22-point win over the Spaniards.
How did Team USA get it done?
With so many tough defensive matchups for Spain, or any other team for that matter, USA tends to create an abundance of unguarded outside jumpers. But of course, it’s a matter of making those shots.
USA had 17 unguarded 3-point attempts and made 10 of them (59 percent). USA shot 5-for-6 on unguarded transition 3-point attempts, including 4-for-4 by Carmelo Anthony on those attempts.
A key for Team USA’s opponents will be hitting outside shots themselves.
Spain had 11 unguarded 3-point attempts and made just three of them (27 percent). That’s a tough formula for success against the Americans.
Team USA’s biggest strength is perhaps its transition game.
USA shot 13-of-14 on transition plays (93 percent) but also turned the ball over seven times in transition. Spain shot just 4-of-8 (50 percent) on transition plays and turned it over four times.
AREAS OF CONCERN FOR TEAM USA
Team USA was impressive on Tuesday, but Spain was without Marc Gasol, and there are plenty of areas of concern for the Americans.
It’s no secret that Team USA doesn’t have a wealth of post players, while Spain sports a trio of Serge Ibaka, Pau Gasol and Marc Gasol (didn’t play on Tuesday).
Spain had nine single-covered post-up plays against USA. On those nine plays, Spain was 3-for-5 on field-goal attempts and was fouled on the other four plays. USA had just three total post-up plays, none of which were double-teamed.
Is double-teaming the post a possibility for Team USA?
USA double-teamed Spain just twice on Spain's 11 post-up plays. On both of those plays, the ball was kicked out to the perimeter for a missed 3-point attempt.
On pick-and-roll plays against Spain, USA scored nearly three times more points per play when the defensive didn’t commit as it scored when the defend did commit.
USA shot 30 percent with four turnovers when the defense committed but 67 percent with one turnover when the defense didn’t commit.
Spain shot 73 percent on pick-and-roll plays against USA. When the defense committed, Spain shot 7-for-11 with three turnovers. When the defense didn't commit, Spain shot a perfect 4-for-4 with four turnovers.
USA had 15 offensive plays against Spain's zone defense, all in the second half. USA shot just 3-of-12 from the field (25 percent) and 1-of-4 on 3-pointers with three turnovers, scoring eight points on those 15 plays (0.53 points per play).
Against man defense, USA shot 18-for-38 from the field (47.4 percent) and 7-for-13 on 3-point attempts with six turnovers.
Team USA shot well from the perimeter and excelled in transition against Spain. But the Americans might need to figure out a way to better defend the pick-and-roll and post-up plays. If these teams meet again, the Americans may face more zone defense, and that could be an issue if they don't repeat their hot outside shooting performance.
May, 5, 2012
By Ryan Feldman, ESPN Stats & Info
Getty ImagesBulls point guard Derrick Rose (left) and Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio (right) each suffered a torn ACL.
Which point guard was more valuable to their team’s success this season? Most would probably assume Rose, the reigning MVP, was once again one of the most valuable players in the NBA when he was healthy. But is it possible that Rubio could’ve been a more valuable player than Rose?
In games Rubio played this season, the Timberwolves were 21-20 and had a chance to make the playoffs for the first time since 2004. Without him, the Timberwolves lost 20 of their final 25 games and finished last place in the Northwest Division.
With Rubio off the court, the Timberwolves were 7.1 points worse per 48 minutes. The Timberwolves offense wasn’t affected as much as their defense was without Rubio. They scored 1.4 more points and allowed 5.7 fewer points per 48 minutes with Rubio on the court.
Rose missed 27 games during the regular season and the Bulls were 18-9 in those games. They were significantly better at 32-7 with Rose, but they still maintained the top seed in the East without him.
The Bulls were 3.5 points worse per 48 minutes with Rose off the court this season. The Bulls were greatly affected offensively without Rose, but their defense actually improved. They scored 8.2 fewer points and allowed 4.7 more points per 48 minutes with Rose off the court.
Neither Rubio nor Rose will be able to compete for their respective countries in the 2012 Summer Olympics. Which player’s injury will have a larger effect, Rubio on Spain or Rose on USA?
In the 2010 FIBA World Championship, Rubio averaged 8.1 assists per 40 minutes, the second-highest behind Argentina’s Pablo Prigioni. Spain had to rely heavily on Rubio running the point without Jose Calderon, who injured his leg and didn’t play in Turkey.
Calderon will be an offensive asset, but Spain could be hurt defensively without Rubio. Since Calderon entered the NBA in 2004, nobody has better than his 4.1 assist-to-turnover ratio. This season, the Raptors scored more, shot better and had a much better assist-to-turnover ratio when Calderon was on the court, but their opponents also scored more and shot better while Calderon was out there.
Raul Lopez, Sergio Llull and Juan Carlos Navarro could also contribute for Spain at the point.
Rose led USA in assists per game (3.2) in the 2010 FIBA World Championship. Without him, USA’s point guard options are Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Russell Westbrook. In the 2010 FIBA World Championship, Paul and Williams didn’t play and Westbrook averaged 18.8 points, 5.4 assists and 5.8 rebounds per 40 minutes. Paul (9.1 APG) and Williams (8.7 APG) both ranked in top five in the NBA this season in assists per game (Calderon was 4th and Rubio was 6th).
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