At 6:00 p.m EST tomorrow evening, at Carioca Arena in Olympic Park, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil the Olympics for the millions of fans will kick off with some interesting matches. One specifically, USA vs. China in basketball.
Even though Team USA will go into the Olympic men’s basketball competition as the obvious and overwhelming favorite, due to their success in Beijing and London, and as well due to their dominant play building up to Rio. They have all-stars and the biggest names in the game, courtesy of the NBA.
On the flip side, China has improved a lot since their performance vs. the Americans, even though they lost two lopsided losses in tune-up games. But everyone knows that the odds of beating the defending Olympic and World champion is close to impossible. But they should be able to stay toe-to-toe with the Americans throughout the course of the 40 minute ball game, which could speak a great performance out of the young Chinese squad, and rank higher than they ever have before in this ridiculosly hard 12-team tourney.
What’s on the line for the US is simply winning. The United States will carry the pressure on their shoulders of winning a third consecutive gold in the Olympics. It’s a tough expectation to put on a young group of US hoops talents. But when you look at them on paper, their overwhelming firepower will probably be enough to rule out any major upset at this stage of the tournament. Later on though it could be another story.
The key ball-men are Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Kyrie Irving. They will play China for a third time in roughly three weeks so it looks like they will hand them another huge defeat since they know them so well. But the US team does not take anything for granted just as yet, and so beating the Chinese again is a hot topic going into the match. Coach Mike Krzyzewski will now require a higher level of focus and intensity from his guys, so they can be prepapred mentally to take on the stronger teams in their group.
China knows its would need a lot more than a perfect game to beat the Americans on Sunday. But they will work hard to keep the final score respectable to boost the morale of the team. If they can keep step with the very best basketball players in the world, the China will have arrived on the scene.
So China will rely on their big guns like Yi Jianlian, Zhou Qi and Wang Zhelin. Look out for their 22-year old playmaker Gou Ailun. That guys knows how to play smart as he demonstrated in the past two warm-up games vs. Team USA. Ailun will try to put up big numbers if China wants to make this game interesting if not watchable.
So if you want a no-brainer bet choose Team USA, who will dominate China from the get-go till the final buzzer without a doubt. Durant will put on a show proving he’s the team’s premier offensive weapon, with most likely another 20+ point performance. Look out for how China will respond defensively this third time around, but no matter what they do, team USA will explode sooner or later and score in leaps and bounds. This bet is all about the plus/minus difference in the final score.
Projected Starting Lineup:
Team USA: C- DeMarcus Cousins, PF – Carmelo Anthony, SF – Kevin Durant, SG – Klay Thompson, PG – Kyrie Irving
Team China: C – Wang Zhelin, PF – Yi Jianlian, SF – Zhai Xiaochuan, SG – Zhou Peng, PG – Gou Ailun