We watched basketball games in Rio every day through this 14 days and finally it's going to be over tonight. And we are going to watch the spectacle tonight. The USA is going to confront Serbia. I expect very tough match and possible Serbia victory. How can they achieve it? We are going to analyze through every aspect of the game.
What characterizes Serbia is great team defense and ball movement. They have some great defenders. First is Stefan Markovic, one of the best two-way players in Europe, then Marko Simonovic, which influence on the game isn't visible on the first view but if you check statistics you will find confirmation of my words. He has long arms and fast legs and defending like a bee. Annoying, but efficient. Nikola Kalinic, Stefan Jovic, also very good defenders who are stopping opponent players very easily. The USA can play defense too as well, but the effort is crucial in important games like this one. And that goes on Serbia's side. They are fighting for every ball. For every rebound. If one guy sleeps a bit, there is always a guy who watches his back. And I expect to see that tonight.
If you look at USA team, you will see only individual plays and absolutely no teamwork. They haven't prepared actions, what they do is isolations and couple of blocks. They didn't show us a good performance. They are very vulnerable and if they shoot bad they have problems. They won every game, but they aren't unbeatable. They have weaknesses and Serbia is going to attack that strong.
On the other side, ball movement is a trademark of this team. Just watch this.
An indispensable piece of this machinery is Milos Teodosic. The best point guard in Europe at the moment. This is the best season in his career. He put highest numbers and won Euroleague with CSKA Moscow. He was criticized many times in the past that he isn't a clutch player and a loser, that he is afraid to play in NBA, but this season is the response to everyone who doubted him. Olympic Gold will be the crown of this magic season for him.
We are also going to see interesting duels in the paint also. DeMarcus Cousins and DeAndre Jordan against Nikola Jokic and Miroslav Raduljica. Jokic and Raduljica both have NBA experience and that is a plus for them. They know how to play with NBA center. Also what is their advantage is their basketball IQ, which is higher than DMC and Jordan's. DMC and Jordan can easily go to the foul problem and that can be the issue for Coach K. Raduljica is a bad defender and the USA is going to score many points over him. Cousins is a monster in attack and Jordan can play defense very well. Easy dunks and alley-ups are the enigmas for every team and Serbia is going to have a tough time trying to stop that. Rebounding is great strength of team USA. They are having many offensive rebounds and Serbia is going to struggle with that.
In the backcourt, there is one guy that can rock in tonight's game. Bogdan Bogdanovic. Fenerbahce's player and Sacramento's pick right now. He is 24 and one the best younger players in Europe. He was always a great shooter and he improved his defense in the past years. There is a big space for him to improve and we are going to see a beast in the future. He can drain 3 easily and clutch shots are his specialty. He hasn't shown that in the national team and this can be a great moment for him to shine.
There is also one thing where Serbia is an advantage. Experience. This team plays together for the years. This roster is playing together for two years. They played together in World Cup, EuroBasket, and this Olympics. They won silver on the last WorldCup and went 4th on the EuroBasket. They have chemistry and experience. Teodosic and Markovic are playing in the national team since I was a child. Raduljica and Macvan played many games earlier too.
The USA is a team full of stars, but the experience is their problem. Only 4 players from this roster played in 2014 World Cup. These changes can affect to a team play, which we saw in the recent games. No team play. Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and Carmelo Anthony are the players that played in important games. In tough moments the ball will be in their hands and if Serbia close them well I don't see a player that can step up and take responsibility.
Aleksandar Djordjevic won some big games in his career. Scoring 41 points in 1995 EuroBasket Final. Winning MVP of 1997 EuroBasket. Scoring a buzzer-beater 3 in Euroleague Final with his team Partizan. He is one the legends of Serbian and Yugoslavian basketball. He knows how to win big games and he is going to transfer that to his players. Coach K and his staff scouted Serbia very well. Loss from Greece 10 years ago is a lesson for them to never underestimate European players.
They also played a game a week ago. They know each other. There is nothing unknown in this game. Quality is absolutely on the USA side. These guys are one the best in the NBA, the best basketball league in the world. They are the leaders of their teams. Bad shooting night and an amazing play by Serbia is a chance for Serbia to win this game. Serbia is the underdog in this game and they will be unballasted in this game. They are not going to lack motivation. They want to repeat 2002 and win in Indianapolis. Are they going to make it? Odds are not on their side, but basketball is a team game and miracles can happen sometimes.