Lack of energy? More like opening up a can of….well, if anyone ever watched wrestling, and remembered Stone Cold Steve Austin’s phrases, you’d know what I was about to say.
The criticism of Team USA’s 110-63 beatdown on Tunisia was answered Thursday against the upstart Nigeria Olympic Team.
During the bout with Tunisia, many accused the starters of lethargic and uninterested play, but the strength of the bench made the difference as they combined for 80 of the 110 points.
The average fan probably wonders how well this team could play if both starters and reserves brought it.
Well, the obliteration USA handed to Nigeria was a knocker of epic proportions.
All types of records were broken in the 83-point route.
Team USA set the all-time Olympic team scoring record of 156, which was previously held by Brazil (138), set back in 1988 against Egypt. Not to mention that this scoring record beat the 1992 Dream Team by 29 points. Undoubtedly, conversation will pick up again on whether this team could beat the ’92 team.
Another record set was in three-point shooting. Team USA knocked down 29 threes at a rate of 63 percent – shooting 71 percent overall.
This game was really one to remember, as everyone shined in their own right. But the one who shined the most was Carmelo Anthony. He happened to set the Team USA individual scoring record with 37 points on 10 three-point makes.
This game was flawless for the most part.
There was a stretch or two where they allowed Nigeria to get in a flow offensively, allowing them to score a total of 73 points.
If Nigeria had any success, it was in the paint. They tried to compete from behind the arc with USA, but obviously to no avail. Former lottery pick Ike Diogu made an impact with his 27 points, mostly in the paint. However, one man won’t cut it whether it’s international play or not.
Offensively, Team USA was strictly three-ball or nothing, something that they have struggled with early so far. But this time, USA went on a shooting streak, and they easily found their stride.
USA came into today’s game shooting 36 percent from the three as a team, but that stat will need some adjustment.
But one thing that shouldn’t be a concern with them is role definition. Players know what part they should play.
LeBron, CP3 and Deron Williams are your facilitators. Kevin Durant, Melo and Westbrook are your offensive firepower. Tyson Chandler, Andre Iguodala and Anthony Davis bring defensive intensity. And Kobe Bryant is there when the team really needs him – look at his 2008 performance against Spain. Roles are defined.
To everybody that’s a fan of this team, let tonight’s performance sink in; I know I’m still trying to. Hopefully, this record-breaking performance does not get to the heads of USA. There is still work that needs to be done.
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