The Celtics vs. Team USA From image

The Celtics vs. Team USA

BtB simulates the current champs against the country's best 1,000 times
By Sammy Geroulis and Paul Bessire,
June 27th, 2008

With the conclusion of the NBA Finals this June and the 2008 Summer Olympics looming on the horizon, we here at WhatIfSports have had basketball on the brain.

We weren't alone in this mindset, however, as internet bloggers over at BrewHoop also began to theorize about the great basketball queries of today- namely, who would win between the 2008 Men's Olympic Basketball Team and the 07-08 Boston Celtics Championship squad.

This competition was made even more intriguing by our recent calculations which determined the 07-08 Celtics to be the 3rd greatest NBA Championship team of all time. (Article Available on next month.)

Being devoted sportsfans ourselves, we decided to once again call on our super computer to create a real life solution for this fantasy problem, and the results were much like you would expect.

Using 1,000 separate simulations of a seven-game "NBA Championship"-esque series, we determined the most common result to be a Team USA victory in five games. This outcome occurred 85% of the time, with an average 14 point margin of victory. Our game summaries also revealed that LeBron James (40%) and Kobe Bryant (35%) were the most frequent recipients of Player of the Game honors with superstars Dwight Howard, Kevin Garnett, and surprisingly Rajon Rondo also being mentioned many times.

The following are projected boxscores, play-by-play descriptions, and stats for each game in the series. Click on the links after each summary to see the entire breakdown of the game.

Game 1
Boston 98 @ Team USA 110 - Team USA opens this series at home in a very lackluster fashion, trailing Boston by as many as 14 points in the first quarter. Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Rondo drop 10 points apiece by halftime, while Ray Allen tallies 5 assists and 7 points. Reality sets in for Team USA, however, and they become more generous with ball movement as 11 of the 12 Olympians score by halftime (tsk-tsk Tayshaun Prince). The teams head to the locker-room with the score tied at 56-56.
After the break, even Allenís 17 points canít hinder Team USAís fury as they shoot 50% from both the field and behind the ark. The Menís Olympic Team only leads by 5 with five minutes left in the game, but the Celtics get frostbite as they go 3 for 13 from the field. This fact, coupled with a final 7-0 run by Team USA seals Bostonís fate. With a combined 57 points between them and an average shooting percentage of 46%, KG, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce are left wondering what they could possibly do better next time.
Player of the Game: Kobe Bryant
Boxscore with play-by-play >

Game 2
Boston 109 @ Team USA 112 - Game two comes down to the wire, but Team USA finds a way to triumph once again thanks, in part, to Player of the Game LeBron Jamesí 29 points and Dwayne Wadeís 13 rebounds. Play from both sides is consistent with what we saw in the first game, as the Celtics rely on the threesome of Garnett, Allen, and Pierce to produce on offense. Similar to the 2008 NBA Finals, Paul Pierce and Kobe Bryant fiercely combat each other for the majority of the game, yet both end up shooting 50% or above from the field. Ray Allen hits a three at the buzzer, but he needs it to count double as the series heads to Boston with the Celtics down two games.
Player of the Game: LeBron James
Boxscore with play-by-play >

Game 3
Team USA 103 @ Boston 77 - The Celtics suffer their most heartbreaking loss yet, in what most believed to be a "must-win" home game at the Garden. Negativity abounds in the locker-room after Boston, who was leading at halftime, gets outscored 58-29 in the final two quarters. They also shoot 35% from the field en route to losing the game. Team USA can only sit and laugh as they have five players land in double figures; Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard play exceptionally well, but Kobe Bryant receives Player of the Game honors once again simply because he is THAT good (and because he shot 73% from the field).
Player of the Game: Kobe Bryant
Boxscore with play-by-play >

Game 4
Team USA 115 @ Boston 125 (OT) - The Boston "3-Party" lights up the court with a combined 71 points in what can only be described as a barnburner. A late triple from Paul Pierce with only seconds left ties the score at 111-111 in regulation. King James has a chance for the game-winning shot but misses wide on his three point attempt, thus sending the game into overtime. Once in OT, the bumbling Olympic Superstars just canít hang with the flawless Celtics as they continuously miss crucial shots and turn the ball over. KG earns Player of the Game honors as his double-double (23 points, 15 rebounds) helps the Celtics avoid the humiliation of a four game sweep.
Player of the Game: Kevin Garnett
Boxscore with play-by-play >

Game 5
Team USA 108 @ Boston 97 - In Game Five, Team USA soundly defeats the Celtics to end the series at 4-1 in the Garden. For the second game in a row, Garnett, Pierce, and Allen drop an astonishing 71 points combined (with Ray accounting for half of it). Unfortunately, itís not enough as team USA utilizes their offensive firepower and superb ball movement to land five players in double figures. Carlos Boozer leads all the Olympians in points with 16, but Howard earns Player of the Game honors due to his double-double and aggressive defense.
Player of the Game: Dwight Howard
Boxscore with play-by-play >

All-in-all, Team USA's all-around talent level trumps the chemistry of the recent champs. Team USA takes down one of the greatest basketball teams that the NBA has ever seen - and it does so handily. Coach Krzyzewski leaves the series satisfied, having warmed-up his team for the upcoming Beijing Games while Doc Rivers is left clutching his first NBA Championship for consolation.

We hope that you enjoy our Beyond the Boxscore feature. As with all of our free features, games and content we are willing to listen to feedback and improve this page and content to make it as interesting and user-friendly as possible. With any comments, questions or topic suggestions, please contact Customer Support. Thanks!

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