Where did all the "US is prime to be beat" folks run off to? I guess it really was a matter of effort and motivation, in the end.
That's weird. Didn't they just beat Spain by just 6 pts? I give them credit because they absolutely steamrolled Serbia, but to say they weren't putting in effort simply because games were close is a copout. It's like the international losses of the past, including 3 losses and a Bronze medal finish in 2004, didn't happen. The fact is that foreign teams are closing ground every year and their style of play, as well as talent, makes it less of a certainty that USA winning yearly is simply a foregone conclusion.
I don't think we're going to get anywhere on this. Not trying to incite you (or others), though. So agree to disagree. That was my subjective impression, and while I did think there was a slight chance they could drop a game prior to elimination round, I expected the "shellacking" (in another thread I think) that we saw in the Gold medal game. They finally
locked in on defense and the rest took care of itself.
I agree that international teams will be better in future years. Lots of young international talent coming to the US now. But they're still too young, reflected by lack of minutes and subpar performances from many of these guys (e.g., Hezonja) than to be expected in the future. Spain, Argentina, etc. have just aged, that's all. It was cool to out what was essentially the same Argentinian team of 2004, too.