The USA vs. Greece game on Wednesday holds significance. This USA vs. Greece game is in preparation for the 2010 FIBA World Championships, but it also serves as a rematch to what took place at the 2006 FIBA World Championships. Team USA had been coasting through the 2006 tournament, laying waste to team after team, including a round of 16 win of 113-73 over Australia and then a quarterfinals win of 85-65 over Germany. It was then that the United States had to face an equally hot Greece team in the semifinals of the tournament.
Team USA ran right into a wall against Greece, and was upset 101-95 in the semifinals of that 2006 FIBA World Championship. It sent them into the Bronze Medal game, and suddenly LeBron James was being called “Le Bronze.” Team USA won the Bronze Medal, while Greece was crushed by Spain (70-47) in the Championship Game. That USA vs. Greece game ended up energizing USA Basketball, which then rebuilt the program for the 2008 Summer Olympics. Kobe Bryant and Jason Kidd joined the team, and helped LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Carmelo Anthony propel Team USA back to the top of the world.
Wednesday’s USA vs. Greece game brings United States basketball full circle, and, even if this is just an exhibition game in preparation for the 2010 FIBA World Championships, these USA players have revenge on their minds. It’s not lost on anyone that every single player from that 2006 World Championship team has been replaced, but the 2010 team wants to prove that they can now stand on their own. Can they play in crunch time when it matters the most? Will Kevin Durant continue to come up huge for this team? And will this game get them into the flow necessary to succeed at the 2010 World Championships?
Team USA beat Spain Sunday, and that was an equally big step for this team, as Spain is the defending World Champion. The game was a close one, though, taking until the final two minutes to decide which team would be victorious. Team USA still has quite a few issues in their transition game, and they will need to cut down on turnovers Wednesday if they really want to succeed this weekend at the 2010 FIBA World Championships. Game 1 for Team USA is on Saturday, Aug. 28, against Croatia. Can Team USA continue its streak of wins that began at the 2008 Summer Games? We are about to find out.
The USA vs. Greece game will be airing on ESPN Classic starting at 9 a.m. PST (12 p.m. EST) on Wednesday, Aug. 25.