Friday, August 3, 2012

Carmelo leads USA to historic 156-73 victory over Nigeria

By Kshell

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".

The rout was on in the first half as the United States jumped out to a 13-0 lead before Nigeria could blink. Team USA at one point led by 27 points in the first quarter as they led after one quarter 49-25 which is impressive. Even more impressive is the fact there are only 10 minute quarters. Kobe Bryant who hasn't played much led the charge in the first half scoring all 16 of his points. Then Anthony came into the game drilling one three pointer after another finishing the half with 34 points. The whole team did in fact making 11 of their first 14 three point attempts(78.6%). Team USA slowed down a bit in the second quarter by their standards outscoring Nigeria 29-20 to lead 78-45 at halftime. Nigeria had no match for team USA who was clicking on all cylinders. Kevin Durant came out hot in the first half as he ended up finishing with 14 points in only 16 minutes. For most of the starters they weren't going to play much in the second half. Usually when a coach doesn't play his starters there is a huge drop off but when you have Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul coming off your bench do you really have that much of a drop of? Team USA didn't let up one bit in the second half and were set out to make a big statement.

Team USA put the blowout touch on the game outscoring Nigeria 41-17 in the third quarter. Then finished the game outscoring Nigeria 37-11 to win 156-73 as Lebron James, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony spent much of the second half watching the blowout. For the U.S. they finished the game shooting 59-83(71.1%) from the field, 29-46(63.0%) from three point range with 41 assists to just seven turnovers. The only bright spot for Nigeria was former Pac-10 player of the yea Ike Diogu scoring 27 points on 11-17 shooting with seven rebounds. The United States was led by Carmelo Anthony scoring 37 points on 13-16 shooting making 10-12 three pointers in only 14 minutes. Russell Westbrook came off the bench to score 21 points on seven for eight shooting making three for four from three point range. Kobe Bryant scored 16 points on six for eight shooting making both three pointers in only 10 minutes. Kevin Love scored 15 points on six for nine shooting with three three pointers and six rebounds. Kevin Durant scored 14 points on five for nine shooting including four three pointers and six assists. Deron Williams added a double-double with 13 points and 11 assists on five for six shooting including two three pointers. Anthony Davis who didn't have his jersey in the first half scored all nine of his points in the second half on four for four shooting including six rebounds. Andre Iguodala  scored nine points making all three three point attempts. James Harden scored seven points while Chris Paul added seven points and seven assists. Lebron James only played 10 minutes finished with six points on three for five shooting with five assists. Not many Olympic squads can score 105 points which is what the United States bench did today led by Anthony and Westbrook.

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.


- Now I'm already reading articles saying Coach K showed poor sportsmanship in running up the score. I think first of all running up the score is a ridiculous claim when dealing with professionals as that isn't coach K's job to also coach the other team. I also don't think Coach K was trying to run up the score when Kobe Bryant played 10 minutes, Lebron James played 10 minutes, Kevin Durant played 16 minutes and Carmelo Anthony played 14 minutes.

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.

- Kevin Durant is continuing his great play in these Olympic games scoring 14 points in only 16 minutes of play. What was most impressive for Durant was the fact he dished out six assists showing another side of him. In a victory over France he grabbed nine rebounds. Like in 2008 when James saw how Bryant was a complete player who played defense also I think the same is happening to Durant. Durant witnessed in the Finals the greatness of Lebron James and how James can beat you in so many different ways. Although Durant averaged over 30 a game in the Finals he didn't do much of anything else to help his team win. Perhaps this upcoming season Durant will become more of a complete player who can beat you with his passing and his rebounding.

 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.

- For Kobe Bryant his role has changed from 2008. In 2008 he was the face of the team as Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard were too young. Now Lebron James is the best player and Kevin Durant is the second best player. Just like that the young kid is now the oldest player on the team. For Bryant he hasn't played much in these games as coach K has done his best to rest both him and James. This game Bryant showed that he still has game scoring 16 points on six for eight shooting making two three pointers. Bryant also had three rebounds, two assists and two steals in only 10 minutes. Bryant set the tone early which the starters have done a poor job of doing the first two games so that he wouldn't have to play much in the second half.

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.

- In the 2003 NBA draft you saw Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade highlight that star loaded class. Wade won his first championship in 2006 giving him the edge well this past year Bosh and James joined him in winning a title leaving only Anthony. Anthony who demanded a trade to New York has won one playoff game in the last two years and has advanced past the first round just once in his nine year career. A lot of fans and experts have been down on Anthony and doubting his ability. For Anthony these Olympics mean more to him than it does Bryant, James or even Durant. This is his chance to prove that yes he is still an elite player in this game.

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.

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