A few things to dislike in Team USA's 20-point win

Updated: August 31, 2006, 11:07 AM ET
By Chris Sheridan | ESPN Insider
SAITAMA, Japan -- In wondering whether folks back home are happy with Team USA's 20-point victory over Germany, I'm guessing they're divided into two categories.

Those who merely checked the final score are probably satisfied. Those who watched the game on TV, however, have to have a few doubts creeping into their heads.

Not surprisingly for those of you who have been following my coverage of this team closely, I found plenty to dislike about this victory. But I'll get to that later.

LeBron James and Dirk Nowitzki
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty ImagesLeBron James helped keep Dirk in check.

First, let me dispense some praise to LeBron James for his second-half defense (3-for-12) on Dirk Nowitzki, who still seemed to be playing Games 4-7 of the NBA Finals, and to Kirk Hinrich for the tone he set with his defensive intensity when the Americans took control of the game early in the third quarter. This one could have been a debacle if the Americans had played as poorly in the second half as they did in the first, but they never got shaken and they got the job done.

OK, enough with the flowery stuff.

Allow me to focus on the negatives, and understand that I'm not the only guy doing so. The Greek coaching staff had to be positively giddy with what it saw Wednesday night, and Spain or Argentina will be taking a good, long look at this game tape once those two get finished with each other in the other semifinal and one of them gets the U.S. in the gold or bronze medal game.

I'm going to give you five reasons this victory did not impress me, which is what I imagine you've come to expect after six weeks in which I've been the one constant voice of restraint when it comes to predicting great things for this team. Team USA's goal is now within reach, but the tournament really hasn't started yet, if you ask me. It really starts Friday when the going gets a whole lot tougher. We're about to see what Team USA has left in the tank, and whether that'll be good enough to restore the old world order.

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