Today marks the SLAMonline debut of Line of the Night (the older brother of that hysterical Line of the Month column we run in Hype every month). Shannon Booher’s work can also be found at his site, which he’s been running for an astonishing eight years.
Line Of The Night:
Kobe Bryant – 25 points, 5 boards, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block
The defensive stopper of Team USA has mostly stayed in the background, offensively, as part of the national team. Against Australia, he did not have much of a challenge on D, so either he was bored, the bigger stage of the medal round was too much for him to resist, or stuntin’ is simply too much of a habit, so he had to put it in the air.
The Kobester finally busted out the entire offensive arsenal – dunks, long-range threes, acrobatic and-1’s – in the quarterfinals. Maybe he is looking for another M.V.P. award for the mantle? The defining play of the game came during a back-breaking 14-0 run to start the 3rd quarter. Kobe hit a ridiculous and-1, while Aussie star player Andrew Bogut limped off the court with an ankle injury. Welcome to the semis, USA.
Worst Of The Night:
Only one out of the four games in the first round of medal play was competitive, Argentina’s 2-point win over Greece (and that was very refreshing to see).
Step your game up, world!
That means there is about 5 teams, and then everybody else. Ya’ll need to give us some more, in 2012, in London. We have a feeling China’s rise to prominence is inevitable – a billi, a billi, a billi, a billi… they’re ok, but their guards suck! Give them some guard play, and it’s on.
Same Ish Different Toilet Of The Night:
Jose Calderon must feel like he’s back in the NBA. In Spain’s quarterfinal match-up vs. Croatia, Calderon found himself sitting the bench as the game started, with young phenom Ricky Rubio starting at the point. It closely mirrors last year’s T-Dot situation with T.J. Ford, as Rubio – like Ford – is the more flamboyant of the pair.
This showed during Spain’s 72-59 win. In the midst of a late Croatia run, Double-R made a couple questionable decisions, and was immediately pulled for Calderon, who came in as a calming influence. During this sequence the diminutive Calderon even executed a successful post-up, looking like an old school Mark Jackson! Only in the international game… that’s as exclusive as an Olympics-only Nike colorway!
Semi-final Preview Of The Night:
The Redeem Team will face perhaps their toughest challenge of the Olympics, in Argentina. The Argentines go for quality over quantity. The team essentially only plays 6 guys, but 5 of those are in NBA rotations, and all have serious international experience. While there is some chance of a let down, having been pushed to the brink by Greece in a heated, rivalry-type re-match, don’t count on it. Every single player on the squad is tough, emotional and fiery. Team USA better have their minds right from the start, or they will be crying BECAUSE of Argentina.
Still loving the Marvin Gaye/Team USA Nike ad…Has Australia always been green and yellow? Or are they the Atlanta Hawks of the international scene, changing colors whenever they want, with little rhyme or reason?… At least Chris Kaman openly played for Germany. Andre Miller changed his name to “C.J. Bruton” in order to run with the Aussies… Who gave Michael Phelps his Hip-Hop gear starter kit before he visited Team USA’s locker room? You gotta rock the FITTED hat, kid, not the adjustable!… Jason Kidd remains a perfect 100% from the field (4-4). Now who can’t shoot?…