As much as it pains me not to be able to describe every game in detail, time will just not permit. However our all star color commentary crew of Jim Nance, Howard Cossell, and Pepper Brooks (from ESPN 8, the Ocho) did a fabulous job covering and you can read the transcripts of their telecasts here. You might ask yourself how our crack team of scientists at Speak Easy could accomplish such a feat. How were we able to bring all of these teams together? Well as you know the nature of this tournament would violate every human rights law if we were to clone every player from each team, so that was out. And based on the laws associated with time travel derived from Terminator and Back to the Future, we are unable to bring the players to the present day without causing a nuclear holocaust or Biff ruling the world. So we decided to use the “Last Action Hero” method established in the 1994 classic, in which a special golden ticket has allowed us to enter the old taped telecasts of the following teams and transport them to current day. We have rented out the World Islands of Dubai, and sequestered each team to their own country-island. Now that we’ve cleared that up and everyone is accounted for: LET THE GAMES BEGIN!!!!!!!!!!!
We’ll dive right into the action by starting in the Quarterfinals, the games were held over a 5 day period in June.
On paper this one should not even be close. The Dream team is supposed to be the pinnacle of USA basketball, while the mess that was the 2004 team falls on the complete opposite end of the spectrum. But as they say: “That is why they play the game.”
Game 1: At the opening match in the tournament the nerves on both sides are high, however, the Dream Team seems to be taking a laissez-faire approach…thinking this will be a cake walk. Seeing as the Dream Team never really had a challenge this will be an interesting test. A fiery starting line-up of Iverson, Wade, Odom, Duncan, and Stoudamire are out to prove that they are not the worst USA team ever and jump out to an early lead through the slashing of Iverson and Duncan’s patented ‘boring as paint-dries’ post moves. The 2004 team has the size up front to match up with the Dream Team. Duncan in his prime can easily abuse his old friend the Admiral (also in his prime, but Duncan in his prime is arguably the best power forward ever). However the Dream Team battles back, through their wing play, as Jordan, Barkley, and Drexeler make short work of anything that ’04 can throw at them. Anthony and Lebron are both to young and not ready for this level of competition, while Marion and Jefferson attempt to control the damage. That’s when Magic goes to work, pulling the strings for shooters, as Mullens and Bird get hot. However, Duncan’s uber-boring post moves continue to kill Karl Malone as he has about 5 inches on him. While Iverson is in one of those zones where his jump shot is falling and he is driving to the basket with reckless abandonment (you know when he would fly into the lane, like a drunken pinball bouncing off everything and then somehow flip the shot up and in). With the clock winding down and the score tied, Magic takes the in-bounds pass and inexplicably passes the ball to Ewing, who scores with almost 13 seconds left on the clock. Jordan scowls… and continues to stare down Magic and Ewing, even though they are leading. The Nightmare Team has a chance to pull off the biggest upset in the history of the tournament. Angry Larry Brown calls an iso for Iverson… who proceeds to cross over Jordan so hard that he stumbles and hits the winning shot as time expires… Cue the chorus of “THAT would never happen in a million years.” But oh, that’s right, IT DID…
Luckily for the Dream Team it is a best of three series, and just like their first scrimmage together, in which they lost to a college squad, it only makes them stronger. Games two and three play out a lot like the Sixers vs. Lakers Finals. Ok, you had your fun, now we are going to go to work. Iverson’s Jumper stopped falling, Duncan was constantly doubled, Amare remembered he was Amare and started playing defense like he always had (right, non-existent). The Dream Team goes on to wax them by 25 and 31 the next two games.
The Dream Team Advances
The 2000 team was the first year that the USA looked vulnerable, and this is pretty much a forgotten team. They had some talent and Vince Carter in is prime…….. which means all of what? Right, jack shit. Yet here we go…
Game 1: A starting lineup of Kidd, Bryant, James, Bosh, and Howard dominates the opening game. They are on a mission to prove they are the best. 2008 Bryant is in his prime and has his way with Steve Smith, Jesus Shuttlesworth, and Allen Houston. Meanwhile, Lebron dominates Carter in the one-on-one matchup. 27 year old Jason Kidd is killing 35 year old Kidd, which prompts K to go with Chris Paul and then the high light reel is on. The 2000 team does not have the athletes to run the floor with ‘08 and nobody to defend the pick and roll with Paul and Bosh or Paul and Howard. Lob City ensues and McDyess and Vin Baker are used as ‘Hack-a-Dwights’ by Rudy-T. (Yes, Vin Baker has a gold medal, and yes I still hate him from when he killed the Hornets in the playoffs, him and that alien Sam Cassell) It’s no use, and the Redeem team wins easily, 110-89.
Game 2: In an effort to play with more experience, Rudy starts Tim Haradaway, Gary Payton, Allan Houston, Vin Baker, and Zo. This fails miserably… and the 08 Redeem team jumps out to a huge lead and easily closes out the ‘00. Rudy later admits that it was more of a farewell for his old guard and he had a trip to St Topez planned, so he was more concerned with getting the fuck out of there. Garnett pouts and scowls and vows never to play for the 2000 team again.
The ReDeem Team Advances
This has to be the marquee matchup of the first round, because of the fact that it has a good deal of the same players, however for the remix squad they are all 2 years older and in everyone’s case 2 years better. Plus the B-squad replaces guys like Rudy Guy, Danny Granger, Eric Gordon, and Steph Curry with the likes of Lebron, Anthony, Kobe, and Deron Williams. It is a shame the B-squad pulled this first round match up, because I think they could have given just about anyone else tons of problems. But ‘12’s Durant triumphs ‘10’s Durant, and the same goes for Westbrook, Love, and Iguodala. Plus the Remix Squad has brow power now, who has legit 3 point range in the International game and he will be a force in the zone for team USA with the way he blocks shots.
Game 1 and 2: You are going to see up and down action, both teams are going to play small, with Durant running the 5, and Lebron and Anthony playing a lot of four. They will be close games, but in the end Durant ‘12 is a better version of himself than in ‘10, coupled with Lebron going point forward Larry Bird 2.0 mode, the B-squad cannot keep up.
The Remix Team advances.
4. The Dream Team 2 vs 5. Spain
This is going to be a battle. I love the matchups. You have the Gasol brothers going against O’Neal in his back board breaking prime. Pau is too soft to really battle him, but Marc would bang with O’Neal and maybe hold his own… On to the games…
Game 1: Both Teams come out with MASSIVE starting lineups, saying we are going to bang down low and see what happens. Unfortunately for Spain, The Dream Team 2’s are all 6’7 and over and a lineup of Penny (back when he was amazing in those electric blue Foamposites), Reggie Miller, Pippen, Olajuwon, and O’Neal could not be stopped. The Gasol brothers could not keep Olajuwon and O’Neal out of the paint and if they doubled they just kicked it out to Miller or Richmond who were bombing threes. After being down 23 at the half, Spain inserted Pau, Ibaka, Rudy Fernandez, shooter Juan Carlos Navarro, and Ricky Rubio in hopes of pushing the tempo. The idea was to run down the legs of the big men for the USA, which worked for a while, until the USA went small as well, going with Payton, Richmond, Grant Hill, Pippen, and O’Neal. The impact was immediate as “the Glove” locked down Rubio and stifled the Spanish attacks. At one point, he even made Ricky cried after several cutting insults about the baby-faced Spaniard. The USA continued to dominate and earn a comfortable win.
Game 2: More of the same as the 1996 team’s in-side outside game continues to destroy Spain, who has no answer. Meanwhile, the Gasol brothers tie for the ugliest players in the tournament. They even beat out the Speak Easy Creation we designed to see if there was a way for someone to actually be uglier than those two guys while playing basketball. However, we were wrong, and the combination of Patrick Ewing’s arms, Vin Baker’s body, Chris Bosh’s giraffe like neck, Russell Westbrook’s red glasses, Anthony Davis’ trademarked unibrow and teeth, with Reggie Miller’s ears, while rocking Russell’s trademark shades sitting on Chris Bosh’s giraffe like neck on Vin Baker’s pudgy body complete with Patrick Ewing’s disproportional long arms STILL lost to both Gasol brothers.
Dream Team 2 moves on… (Did you think Spain was going to make it anywhere??!?!? This is a DREAM TEAM showdown…)
On To the Semis!!!!