[Live blogging the U.S.-Greece men's basketball game]
The Kareem Teamers can bring this Olympic Basketball Gymnasium to life when they're doing their fast-break twirling-dunk routine, but they can also put the gym to sleep when they're up 20 against a raggedy Greek team in the third quarter. It would not be at all false to suggest that the crowd made more sustained noise during the halftime Ghostbusters-themed trampoline act. Or for when Evander Holyfield was shown on the big-screen.
But the crowd does come to life for U.S. dunks, which is maybe why Jason Kidd just tried to throw an alley-oop off the backboard in transition. Didn't work out too well. Although the Greeks responded by botching a 4-on-1 break. The swimming and gymnastics at the Olympics might be pristine, but the basketball sure hasn't been.
The only sustained noise going is coming from the 30 or so Greeks high in the upper level. One of them has taken his shirt off, and is gesturing to his compatriots for more noise while facing away from the court in trademark football supporters style. We definitely need more shirtless fan leaders in the NBA. And it never fails to surprise when they get louder after an American basket. Good fans.
And players from both teams have expressed frustration with the referees, who, it must be said, have made some very odd calls in situations that would be obvious no-calls in the NBA. Yeah, I just held up the NBA refs as some sort of example.
Also, the U.S. reporters are tuning out from the action. One just asked me to explore why stadium popcorn all across the Chinese Olympic landscape is coated with sugar before serving. I'm quite fond of it. He evidently wasn't.
Stat of the quarter: Greece is 3 of 13 from three-point range. That's pretty much all you need to know. (Although one sequence in which LeBron James and Chris Bosh pinned back-to-back shots from behind was kind of symbolic, as well. As was LeBron gesturing frantically from the ground for a charge call after some Greek player he outweighs by 30 pounds made light contact.)