As Far As Wins Go, That Was Pretty Uncomfortable

It's just the first game, and a win's a win, but I'm not going to do any victory dances when we give up 100 points to Puerto Rico, either. Team USA did win by a score of 111-100, but they never really pulled away, they never dominated for a stretch longer than a couple of minutes, and they never really showed that they can put the clamps down defensively.

Team USA looked a little bit like a one-trick pony last night. When they're forcing steals and getting into transition, they look great. But their halfcourt offense and their halfcourt defense both look pretty shaky. High screen-and-rolls kills them, dribble penetration kills them, and there's almost no flow to the offense when they're forced to slow things down. When they play a team with experienced guards that won't turn the ball over, they're going to have to be a lot better than they were tonight.

Of course, the upside is that the 10-point margin of victory leaves Chris Sheridan plenty of room to continue with the Gloomy Gus routine. To be fair, he's absolutely right about much of what he's written, but he's been about as bright and cheerful about Team USA's chances as a Sylvia Plath novel. At this point, he almost has to be rooting for them to lose, because if they do happen to get on a roll and romp through the tournament, he's going to look like a doofus. But check out #9 from his list of ten reasons that Team USA won't win the gold, from ESPN Insider:

9. The smell factor. This is a little disgusting, but it's true: Some of these teams stink, literally. Players on international teams travel to and from the arenas in their uniforms, and many players forsake showers as a result. I got a really close look at Argentina during the Worlds in Indianapolis, and I do not believe Fabricio Oberto, Luis Scola or Andres Nocioni bathed during the entire tournament. BO may be repulsive, but it also keeps defenders a few extra inches away.

We'll have to get Chris Bosh to confirm it for us, but yeah, Peter John Ramos looks pretty stank.

U.S. shows up late to World party, survives Puerto Rico [ESPN.com]