BEIJING Oh, it's so on now.
Those U.S. basketball games against China and Angola were just appetizers for a rematch two years in the making. The Greeks that made the U.S. team look defensively incapable and downright wimpy in the 2006 world championships are next on the schedule, and the Americans are fired up.
That game stings. The pain lingers.
The loser always remembers, right Chris Paul?
"I really don't remember it too well."
Well, Paul was just coming off a whirlwind rookie season and was pretty much awful in that game against the Greeks, so it's probably best that he forgot it.
But you, Carmelo Anthony, you've been on the international scene for four years, and you must be ready to stop that guy that carved up your defense like Steve Nash and scored on it like Allen Iverson.
You remember that guy, right Carmelo?
"Spadoulis, I think."
Nooo, it was Vasileios Spanoulis.
But, hey, every Greek player's name ends in an "s," and what do names really matter anyway?
All that matters is that you're better prepared this time. That pick-and-roll that demolished you yes, the same play you run on the playground made a bunch of NBA all-stars look like amateurs will not work this time because you've done your homework and know those big fat Greek nuisances inside and out.
Right, LeBron James?
"I haven't seen them play since they beat us."
Well, that's not very encouraging at all.
This doesn't sound like the Redeem Team. More like the Redo Team, bound to repeat overseas embarrassment.
Wasn't it this kind of obliviousness that cost the U.S. the gold medal in Japan two summers ago? They looked back then like a team that had no idea the Greeks would run the pick-and-roll over and over again. And they sound right now like a team that hasn't exactly removed the blinders.
If it wasn't for the U.S. coaching staff being in the Capital Gymnasium on Tuesday scouting the Greeks as they trounced Germany, it would appear no one was paying attention to the one team the Americans should be focused on beating.
That Greek team had no NBA players, yet they shot 63 percent from the field and 44 percent from three against the U.S.
The Greeks bullied the U.S. front line with Sofoklis Schortsanitis, built like a perfect circle and nicknamed Baby Shaq "tell me how the bronze taste" and yet this U.S. team features the exact same front line (Carlos Boozer is the only new big man, and he barely plays).
So, what, Kobe Bryant is supposed to be the difference? Mr. Mamba was 0-of-8 from three-point range and 4 of 13 overall in the Americans' 97-76 trouncing of Angola.
Angola, by the way, whose coach actually told his team that the goal was to lose by less than 40 points.
Jason Kidd is supposed to change the result? The ceremonial starter didn't even take a shot against Angola and has been the third-best point guard on this team.
So this is going to be international disaster No. 4 for the U.S., right?
Well, hold on for a second.
You can't really take the U.S. team's nonchalant attitude at face value. The NBA has programmed them to downplay so well they could make Michael Phelps sound like just another swimmer.
If you ask the same question a few more times, though, they'll let you in a little more.
"This is one of the games that have been in my mind and I've been looking forward to for the last two years," Anthony said. "LeBron and them, they've been talking about it since we left Vegas."
Besides the motivational factor, this is where Jerry Colangelo's three-year commitment comes into play. This team knows each other far better than it did in 2006, so pick-and-roll defense won't be as much of a challenge.
And with a more experienced Dwight Howard, a wider James (have you seen his shoulders in those sleek Nike uniforms?) and a more defensive-minded Anthony, the front line won't nearly be the pushover it was two years ago.
And then, there is the Kobe factor. Yeah, he stunk up the joint Tuesday, but how often has he been able to recover from those games to break the next team's back?
Plus, he says things like this: "If I have to, I'm going to let the Mamba out."
So maybe the Americans aren't entirely oblivious or overconfident or doomed to fail again.
"We'll be ready for them," James said. "I promise you."
Maybe it's the Greeks that should be concerned right about now.