Team USA needs more out of its reserves

The United States almost lost to Brazil, in part because of the poor play of reserves. The U.S. needs to use Wednesday's game against an overmatched Iran team to get better.
By BRIAN MAHONEY, AP Basketball Writer Modified: August 31, 2010 at 10:55 pm •  Published: August 31, 2010
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To do so, the guys who were on the floor realize they'll need the ones on the bench. After all, depth is supposed to be one of this team's strengths.

"We just have to take the last two games again one at a time try to get something done," Iguodala said. "Give everybody some key minutes in the next two games and everybody get their confidence where it needs to be going into the elimination round."

The Americans are inexperienced internationally beyond Billups, Odom and Tyson Chandler. They're still adjusting to the nuances of the game, such as the traveling violations they've repeatedly committed.

The entire Olympic team had competed previously and was well-versed in FIBA play. The current group lags far behind a team such as Brazil, which played together last summer while winning the regional qualifier for the world championship.

"It is a different team. It is a lot of young players, I think the first time that they come to the world championships," said Brazil guard Leandro Barbosa, citing everything from the ball to the calls as differences from the NBA game.

"I think that causes a little problem for them, being different games. So in that situation, we've got a little advantage, so it's good for us."

Neither of the remaining pool opponents has the talent to exploit that. The main interest in the Iran game comes from local journalists trying to hype it because of the political tensions between the countries, but Krzyzewski downplayed that.

"This is a sporting event," he said. "We have respect for Iran. I actually played in Iran in the 1970s when I was on the U.S. Armed Forces team. I have great feelings for their country. They're sportsmen and so are we. We'll have a great game."

It shouldn't be close, but another might be later in the tournament. The Olympic team never had that concern, but these Americans say they don't mind.

"We can't worry about how much we win by, winning the same fashion as other USA teams. All of that's out the window," Billups said. "All we need to do is get wins. Win every game we can and we'll worry about everything else later."