Were the first two quarters of Slovenia just a mirage or is the USA really vulnerable?
Slovenia played a spotless game in the first two quarters. High percentages, a solid defense and very few mistakes in passing. Slovenia has no real big players other than Slokar. One superb player, G. Dragic, two great guards, Z. Dragic and Lorbek, and a legion of hard working supporters.
Even so they managed to slow down the game and force the USA to play a positional game with barely any fast breaks.
Stephen Curry did not show up this time and at half time it looked like there was something going on.
However, it only took the US about 4′ to break the game. They increased their defensive pressure about 5 levels and started stealing ball after ball. This time Slovenia had nothing to throw at them. Gay and particularly Irving changed the pace of the game completely. Irving is a superb player, he can score, split the defense, but above all he reads the game better than most of his teammates.
Today’s game was a dèja vu (all over again): the US game builds up to a devastating third quarter where the defense is extremely aggressive and the physical prowess of the American players is overwhelming.
Lithuania will provide a slightly different background to the next appearance of the US team. The Baltic team has really big players and is more physical than Slovenia. It will be the last chance to find the real chink in the armour.