The U.S. men’s basketball team has been “bullied” in the past because of the size of the players.

Generally speaking, Coach Kerr played smaller lineups, and in losing three of their final four games at the World Cup, the U.S. was often gutted on the glass and in the paint.

From NY Times "For the Olympics, USA men’s basketball has a sizable fix to fight a bully problem"

Can anyone explain “gutted on the glass and in the paint”?

  • 1
    It would not seem to be in common enough use to qualify as an idiom. A creative metaphor perhaps (which would be off-topic). Commented Jul 10 at 21:35
  • 1
    This might be better on the Sports.SE.
    – Allure
    Commented Jul 11 at 6:55
  • The article was written for people who are interested in basketball, and would thus be familiar with the sport's jargon. I could see where someone unfamiliar with the sport would find it just as difficult to understand as I would an article about a cricket match.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Jul 11 at 15:04
  • They're just saying the smaller people are going to get hurt. The person who wrote this was just being playful with how badly they would be hurt - you will never see this phrase again.
    – ness
    Commented Jul 11 at 15:38
  • @ness Sorry, but this kind of statement is routine with sportscasters and -writers.
    – Robusto
    Commented Jul 11 at 17:51

1 Answer 1


"Gutted on the glass" means that because of their smaller size, Kerr's team couldn't get enough rebounds (balls bouncing off the backboards, which are clear "glass" in most professional or scholastic stadiums). Similarly, "in the paint" means the area under the basket (the "key" which is painted) where big men have a much better chance of blocking or forcing scores over smaller men. The area near the basket is, therefore, the domain of the big players. Kerr's smaller team had to settle for outside shots, etc.

  • And "gutted" is normally used in hunting and fishing vernacular to refer to removing an animal's entrails. I can't say that's the most apposite synonym for "dominated" or "badly outplayed" that I've ever heard, as it tends to refer to a one-off operation in the field—not something that might (figuratively) happen to the same victim "often." But the New York Times has very few copy editors these days.
    – Sven Yargs
    Commented Jul 11 at 16:51
  • @SvenYargs That's just part of the intrinsic hyperbole of sports vernacular. Teams are never beaten, they're "destroyed" or "obliterated"; a player never just dodges an opponent, he "literally wipes the floor" with him; nothing is routine, everything is "amazing".
    – Robusto
    Commented Jul 11 at 17:40

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