Team USA is playing a few exhibition games in preparation for Beijing in a little over a week. Yesterday was a warm-up game against Canada. I'm proud of Team Canada, who came out and played hard in the first half, tough to do after the losses last week in Greece.

Keys for Team USA will be individual and team defense and early offense points. If they can do both well, their depth and athleticism will win out. I took a couple of clips from the first half, one is a Michael Redd 3-pointer off a missed basket, and the other is a great steal and dunk by Kobe Bryant,

Early Offense 3-pointer:

Couple of things. Because the FIBA 3-point line is shorter than the NBA 3-point line, Team USA needs to take advantage of that. Second, with the superior depth and athleticism that Team USA possesses, they must push the ball every single time. Here is the early offense play. Nothing special, everyone runs their lanes, Redd spots up looking for the catch and shoot, Bosh and Boozer head straight for the blocks looking for either a running dunk or the rebound off the shot,

The second play was just great individual defense by Kobe. I think that is where Kobe will be instrumental for Team USA. Pressuring the other team's primary ball-handler. That alone could be the tipping point for Team USA against the top teams in Beijing.


Can't wait for the Olympics. Spain plays Argentina in about 30 minutes in a friendly match. This is going to be one of the best international basketball tournaments of all time in my opinion.

For some more transition offense pointers, take a look at Steve Smith's new DVD on his High Scoring Transition Offense. Coach Smith has built Oak Hill Academy into a prep school powerhouse with famous alums in the likes of Jerry Stackhouse and Team USA's own Carmelo Anthony. Discuss this and the rest of your favorite basketball topics at the X's and O's Basketball Forum.