They were calling this a "huge upset" on the TV, then started slowly retreating from that hyperbolic plateau with excuses. But let's be plain. When you haven't won this world championship since 1994 (in Toronto, it was, comeback-minded Shawn Kemp in full crotch-grabbing mode) and finished a deserved third at the last Olympic tournament, it's not really much of a surprise, is it?
|Lebron's look says it all.|
Throw in a defence (and coaches on the bench, watching goggle-eyed) that looked like it had never seen a pick-and-roll -- the Greeks blew it wide-open with a third quarter in which they shot a hellacious 14 of 18 and scored 30 points, and never did they go away from that simple NBA meat 'n potatoes fare -- and it was more like a dissection, with Houston-bound Vassilis Spanoulis playing your ninth-grade biology teacher, Sofoklis Schortsianitis the 315-pound scalpel and the U.S. as the ex-frog smelling of formaldehyde.
The Americans were actually up by 12 in the second quarter, and looked to be on their way, then the Raptors' Chris Bosh was at the centre of the collapse, having a nightmare within this American nightmare after coming on with 2:46 remaining before halftime. Bosh made a jam off a Joe Johnson feed to put the U.S. up by three before it all came apart for them. Matched against the 21-year-old Schortsianitis, whom the Clippers were apparently courting without success this summer, it was a bulldozer against a reed. Two dunks off the screen/roll. A lay-up, after bulling his way under the basket for position against Bosh. And on the fourth possession, now matched against someone else as the American defence appeared scattered, Bosh was left on the floor looking for a foul that didn't come after his man barged over him off the dribble and got to the rim. An 8-0 Greece run just before halftime that turned the game, it was, and Bosh never saw the floor again.
Krzyzewski never looked to his bigs at all in the fourth quarter, Brand and Howard, the latter in beastly form earlier, joining Bosh on the bench. All Greece did was keep playing solid, intelligent basketball at their preferred tempo, and there was something of a clinical feeling to it.
So it's the bronze-medal game Saturday for the U.S. and the Greeks on to Sunday morning's final. Just don't go calling this an upset. The way it unfolded, there was almost no surprise at all.
RELATED: The Basketball Jones live-blogged it.