Friday, August 3, 2012
Carmelo leads USA to historic 156-73 victory over Nigeria
Carmelo Anthony led a historic victory for Team USA as they re-wrote the history books with their 156-73 victory over Nigeria. Team USA set a record for points scored in a game with 156 points which beat out the previous record set by Brazil in the 1988 Olympics. Team USA set a record for margin of victory which was 83 points which was previously set by the United States in 1956 when they defeated Thailand by 73 points. Carmelo Anthony also set the team USA record for most points scoring 37 points beating out former New York Knick Stephon Marbury who scored 31 in a 2004 game. Anthony scored 34 of his 37 points in the first half on 13-16 shooting including an astonishing 10-12 from three point range. He also only played 14:29 out of a possible 40 minutes. Anthony showed why at one time he was in the same conversation with Lebron James when both entered the league back in 2003-04 season. Team USA set the tone that they can destroy their opponent even if Lebron James and Kobe Bryant the two most popular faces of the team each played under 11 minutes in the game. All 12 guys on the U.S. team scored and five scored in double figures led by Anthony dropping 37. Russell Westbrook also scored 21 points on seven for eight shooting. As a team the U.S. made 29-46(63.0%) from three point range while dishing out 41 assists to only seven turnovers. This was the most dominant effort anyone has ever seen even more dominant than the mighty 1992 "Dream Team".
Team USA made a statement to the rest of the world which is that the 2004 embarrassment is in the rear view mirror. This team is dominant much like the 1992 Dream Team and this team like that team will be legendary for years to come. That 1992 team has 11 guys in the NBA Hall of Fame but who knows how many this team is going to have. Right now you'd say Lebron James and Kobe Bryant are locks. Good chance Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Carmelo Anthony, and Kevin Durant make it. I wouldn't be surprised if Anthony Davis, Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook make it. So right there I just named nine guys and two of the three I didn't name are still very young so there is room in their game to grow. This team is showing these Olympics they can blow out their opponents but unlike 1992 they are destroying other countries who have NBA players. Even this team featured Diogu who was in the NBA and former Sonic big man Olumide Oyedeji. I'm sure the message the United States has been sending has been heard throughout the world which is this is the best team that the best country in basketball has assembled since the 1992 team.
Coach K has no choice but to play studs since the worst player on Team USA would be the best player for almost every country in this tournament. Also where was this talk during 1992 and 1996? The only players to play more than 20 minutes were reserves who in a close game might not get a chance to play. This team is very deep and loaded and the last two games the bench has been carrying the United States. In the previous game Coach K actually started the second half with his five reserves as they turned a 13 point lead into a 47 point blowout win. I think for American writers to make such a ridiculous claim is complete bogus and simply not fair to coach K.
Durant will always be a deadly shooter as he made four three pointers while only playing 16 minutes. For James and Bryant they have their rings so this is Durant's time to shine. In these Olympics in three games Durant is averaging 16.3 PPG, 6.7 RPG and 4.3 APG. Last game he scored 14 points with 10 rebounds and five assists. Durant is starting to evolve as a complete basketball player which is scary for the world and in a couple of months will be scary for his teammates once NBA play resumes.
Bryant along with James is the only players on this roster who have won an NBA championship. In key games team USA will be counting on those two to provide that championship leadership down the stretch. Bryant in 2008 led the team in assists and in the gold medal game vs Spain bailed the team out down the stretch. He is coach K's ace up his sleeve along with James and hopefully unlike 2008 we never have to see them put on the superman cape. Bryant did show today that if need be he can still wear that cape and come to the rescue.
Today Anthony displayed some of the best individual basketball you'll ever see. He scored 37 points in only 14 minutes while shooting 13-16(81.2%) from the field and 10-12(83.3%) from three point range. He scored 34 points in the first half alone. Had coach K allowed him to he could have challenged for 100 points. Anthony during these games was sent to the bench in favor of rising star Kevin Durant but he is making the most of this. Anthony is still one of the games best scorers as he can beat you in the post up game or beat you with his three point shot. Anthony has great talent but can't seem to put it together. Last time he went to the Olympics that following year he advanced to the Western Conference Finals for the only time in his career. Anthony is a great talent which he showed today hopefully for fans of the game he uses this as a launching point for his already all-star career to join the elite status of Lebron James, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant.
Those questioning this team sure were silent today. Now I'm sure critics will bring up how the team they played wasn't very talented but neither was any team the 1992 Dream Team played. The most ridiculous statement wasn't Kobe Bryant or Lebron James saying this team would beat the 1992 team. The most ridiculous statement was everyone laughing it off like it couldn't happen and Scottie Pippen saying the 1992 team would win by 25 points. This team could compete with that 1992 team and with a healthy Dwight Howard I would possibly take this current team. Unlike 2008 I'd be very surprised if this team is pushed during these olympics. They have so many weapons that can beat you and just so much firepower. This team is built for international play as the NBA has evolved into that style. Guys like James and Anthony along with Durant can play power forward. Today coach K had Russell Westbrook running a point forward at small forward as this team has no small guys. They are all athletic guys who can play multiple positions on the court and make life very miserable for their opposition. Just like Barcelona, Spain received a huge treat watching the 1992 team London, England is getting that treat now. Team USA has the best players in the world playing on their team and tonight they proved it that they can run a team out of the gym with Bryant and James hardly playing. This team is determined to be a legendary squad and as time goes on we'll look back at this team to realize how truly great this team was.