Dream Team vs Redeem Team From WhatIfSports.com image

Dream Team vs Redeem Team

The 1992 and 2008 Men's Olympic Basketball Teams Collide
By Greg Graziano, Sammy Geroulis and Paul Bessire
August 20, 2008

With the Beijing Olympics drawing to a close, and Team USA's utter domination of the men's basketball tournament thus far, we at WhatIfSports.com were seemingly out of challenges for the boys in red, white, and blue.

We had already ran them against the 2008 NBA Champions, the Boston Celtics (here) as well as an all-star squad composed of only international NBA players (here). In both cases, they triumphed with minimal effort. We asked ourselves, who else could pose a threat to this team of American juggernauts? The answer was simple- another set of American superstars…from the past. We decided to pit the 2008 "Redeem Team" against the original 1992 "Dream Team" who captured gold and admiration from across the globe in a dominant performance at the Olympics in Barcelona.

For those who might be a bit hazy, the 1992 Dream Team featured:

Magic JohnsonCharles BarkleyPatrick Ewing
John StocktonKarl MaloneDavid Robinson
Clyde DrexlerScottie PippinChristian Laettner
Michael JordanChris Mullin
Larry Bird

And for those who have been under a rock, the 2008 Redeem Team includes:

Chris PaulLeBron JamesDwight Howard
Deron WilliamsCarlos BoozerChris Bosh
Jason KiddCarmelo Anthony
Dwyane WadeTayshaun Prince
Michael Redd
Kobe Bryant

As is custom, both squads were thrown into an NBA Championship-esque best-of-seven series, with the Redeem Team receiving home court advantage. It was the Redeem Team who emerged victorious in a series which took the full seven games to reach a conclusion. The 2008 team averaged 110 points per game, while the 1992 crew averaged 108 points. Almost every matchup had a different Player of the Game. Each meeting proved to be an epic encounter with intense, high-scoring bouts only fitting for a clash between some of the NBA's greatest players.

While the end result was an extraordinarily close race between both teams, some still may question how the Dream Team could have fallen. A variety of factors may aid in understanding this outcome:

The teams are so close that a Redeem Team victory may be a coincidence. It's almost exactly a 50/50 shot.


Using regular season NBA stats from their most recently completed season (i.e. 2007-08 for Redeem Team and 1991-92 for most of the Dream Team) as a basis for these simulations had an impact. After all, in 2007-08, LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant had historically exceptional seasons.


Maybe the Redeem Team is in fact just as good as their renowned predecessors. One group was able to bring previously unknown international dominance and glory to the Olympic games in basketball for the United State, making the men's basketball team seem nigh invincible. The other recaptured those same sentiments after they had been diluted (and completely removed in 2004) by a drastically improved international crowd. The groups possess similar dedication, work ethic, and skill level. In a way, our simulations reiterate the most important quality of these teams- the Redeem and Dream teams feature supremely talented Americans who represented their country well in all respects. With all seriousness, in a series like this, which features so many gifted and patriotic US citizens, can there really be a loser?

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 including a boxscore and play-by-play.

Game 1
Dream Team 89 @ Redeem Team 108 - Game I featured a most impressive performance by the Redeem team as they fought tooth and nail against a group that was considered superior by most. Although their efforts only amounted to a two point lead by the end of the 2nd quarter, the 2008 Olympians scored the first 11 points of the second half and never looked back.
Wade came off the bench to score 17 points and lead all scorers. Carlos Boozer added 16, while Dwight Howard had a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds. The Dream Team seemed shell-shocked, with no breakout performances from any of their numerous stars. Forced to shoot threes late in the game, they ended 1 of 15 from behind the arc. They definitely need to step their game up to have a prayer against the highly-motivated Redeem team.
Player of the Game: Dwight Howard
Boxscore with play-by-play >

Game 2
Dream Team 127 @ Redeem Team 116 - After a sub-par offensive performance in the first game, the Dream Team shot 55% from the field and saw eight players reach double-figures en route to a 127-116 thumping to tie the series at 1-1. David Robinson led the way with 15 points and 12 rebounds as Carmelo Anthony attempted to counteract him with 22 points for the Redeem Team.
Up 77-74 with just under five minutes to play in the 3rd quarter, the Dream Team used their depth and unselfish play to begin to pull away. Eight different players scored in the quarter and extend the lead to 95-82 by the start of the 4th. Once they commanded the lead, they didn’t led up and now face their first home game.
Player of the Game: David Robinson
Boxscore with play-by-play >

Game 3
Redeem Team 93 @ Dream Team 113 - In Game III, a 15-0 run in the 1st quarter helped the Dream Team to secure a victory once again. Chris Mullin shined forth as he came off the bench hitting 6 of 8 shots from the floor and finishing with 16 points for the victors. Magic Johnson also put forth a well rounded effort with 12 points, 8 assists, and 6 rebounds. Chris Bosh led with 16 points for the Redeem Team, who now face a 2-1 deficit going into Game IV.
Player of the Game: Magic Johnson
Boxscore with play-by-play >

Game 4
Redeem Team 126 @ Dream Team 120 - The offensive fireworks were flying in Game IV, but the Redeem Team was able to pull it out thanks to their free throw prowess. They were able to hold off every Dream Team run as the series evened itself out at 2-2. Chris Bosh led the 2008 faction with 19 points, while Carmelo Anthony added another 18.
Bosh's free throws at the 9:46 mark of the third quarter would set the Redeem Team in front for the rest of the game, despite the Dream Team’s efforts. Although trailing by as much as 11 in the 4th quarter, the Dream Team rallied, cutting the deficit to 120-117 on a Magic Johnson three-pointer with less than a minute left. Jason Kidd refused to submit, however, as he answered with a three of his own that sealed the victory for his team and set the stage for Game V.
Player of the Game: Chris Bosh
Boxscore with play-by-play >

Game 5
Redeem Tean 106 @ Dream Team 107 - Although both offenses cooled off for this contest, it provided the most exciting finish of the series so far as Patrick Ewing’s tipped in a missed shot by Karl Malone with 8 seconds left to deliver a thrilling 107-106 victory for the Dream Team. Play went back and forth as Carmelo Anthony spurred a 10-2 run early in the 4th quarter to help the Redeem Team take a 96-95 lead with seven minutes left; but at the five minute mark, we were tied once again 99-99.
The Redeem Team was able to re-take the lead for a few more minutes, but the 1992 superstars were able to put together an amazing 7-0 run in the last minute capitalized by a three free throws by MJ, two by Karl Malone, and Ewing’s aforementioned tip. Scottie Pippen then blocked a Tayshaun Prince jumper at the buzzer to secure the victory and a 3-2 series lead for the Dream Team, as they now look to end the series at the Redeem Team’s home court.
Player of the Game: Michael Jordan
Boxscore with play-by-play >

Game 6
Dream Team 109 @ Redeem Team 114 - Facing elimination, the Redeem Team returned home and utilized a 24 point effort from Carmelo Anthony to tie the series at 3-3 and send it to Game VII with a 114-109 win over the Dream Team. Anthony scored 11 straight points in the fourth quarter, helping expand his team’s lead to nine, 100-91, with 5:17 left. Clyde Drexler and Karl Malone helped keep their squad in the game down the stretch, and Magic Johnson was even dropped a three-pointer to cut the lead to four, 112-108 with fifteen seconds left. The Lakers legend then fouled LeBron James, who missed both of his free throw attempts, leaving the door open for a Dream Team comeback. Anthony then fouled Michael Jordan, who hit on only one of his two free throw attempts to make it a one possession game. But it was Anthony who sealed the victory for the Redeem Team, hitting two free throws with seven seconds left to force Game VII.
Player of the Game: Carmelo Anthony
Boxscore with play-by-play >

Game 7
Dream Team 92 @ Redeem Team 107 - The first three quarters of Game VII imitated the first six games of this series, with high-flying action and nip-and-tuck play. However, it was the 4th quarter when the Dream Team began to stall a little and allowed the Redeem Team to take charge.
Leading 75-72 in the beginning of the final quarter, the 2008 Olympians scored three straight old fashioned three point plays to expand their lead to 12. That would serve as the death knell for the 1992 squad. Dwight Howard finished with 14 points, but scored 9 of them in the final quarter. LeBron James led all scorers with 15, while Carlos Boozer came off the bench again to score 14 on 6-of-9 shooting from the field. Once again, like in Game I, the 1992 group seemed a bit out of their element. Unfortunately, this time, there was no second chance.
Player of the Game: Carmelo Anthony
Boxscore with play-by-play >

Roster Notes

Simulations included use of the 1990-91 Magic Johnson. He had retired in the fall of 1991 and therefore did not participate in the 1991-1992 season.

Also used was the 1992-93 version of Christian Laettner. He had just left Duke in April of 1992. Soon after, he was drafted by the Timberwolves and played on the Dream Team before the start of the regular season; hence his rookie season was the only available option.

We hope that you enjoy our Beyond the Boxscore feature. As with all of our games, 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 BtB@whatifsports.com. Thanks!

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