U.S. Olympic basketball player Deron Williams (R) challenges Spain's Jose Manuel Calderon during an exhibition game at Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona, ahead of the 2012 London Olympic Games, July 24, 2012. (Photo : REUTERS/GustauNacarino)
The 2012 USA men's national basketball team, 'Dream Team', faces arguably its biggest rival today in a game ahead of the London Olympics before a sold-out match at Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona, Spain.
Before getting into detail, the basics:
4:30 p.m. EST
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Live broadcast will be provided by ESPN 2
Carmelo Anthony - New York Knicks
Kobe Bryant - Los Angeles Lakers
Tyson Chandler - New York Knicks
Anthony Davis - New Orleans Hornets
Kevin Durant - Oklahoma City Thunder
James Harden - Oklahoma City Thunder
Andre Iguodala - Philadelphia 76ers
LeBron James - Miami Heat
Kevin Love - Minnesota Timberwolves
Chris Paul - Los Angeles Clippers
Russell Westbrook - Oklahoma City Thunder
Deron Williams - Brooklyn Nets
Gasol, Pau - Los Angeles Lakers
Fernández, Rudy - Real Madrid
Rodríguez, Sergio - Real Madrid
Navarro, Juan Carlos - FC Barcelona
Calderón, José - Toronto Raptors
Reyes, Felipe - Real Madrid
Claver, Víctor - Portland Trail Blazers
San Emeterio, Fernando - Caja Laboral Baskonia
Llull, Sergio - Real Madrid
Gasol, Marc - Memphis Grizzlies
Ibaka, Serge - OKC Thunder
Sada, Víctor - FC Barcelona
Both USA and Spain are teams packed with NBA talent and for this reason the game should truly be a classic not only for the high-level of basketball expected, but because of the drama that surrounds it.
Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol are teammates who play for the Lakers and it is rare to see them go on face to face like this, in a match. Also people will get to compare if Serge Ibaka performs better alongside his Spanish teammates or while teaming up with OKC Thunder teammate Kevin Durant.
Both teams have strengths and weaknesses.
USA strengths include having arguably the best players in the world in Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Kevin Durant. However they lack in team-playing chemistry as half of their players are new on-board. Although Spain on the other hand has only five new additions to its team since Beijing's 2008 Olympics, it is a more experienced team, older in age, something the Spanish will certainly take advantage of.
Also Team USA's average height is just about half an inch lower than Team Spain's average height, but when it comes to the starting lineup, USA is shorter significantly. This means its Tyson Chandler competing for rebounds against Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka. Except for Chandler and Chris Paul, the remaining starting U.S. players are about 3 to 4 inches shorter than their Spanish counterparts.
Predictions are that USA will rely on its athleticism and young talent to battle the Spanish fury.
LeBron James and Kevin Durant will shine. The USA should win by a margin of 2 to 6 points.
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