USA Basketball Squeak Out 83 Point Win Over Nigeria
Records were shattered on Thursday as the USA men’s basketball team eviscerated Nigeria 156-73 in pool play action, breaking the Olympic record for most points scored in a game.
Criticized by many for their slow starts in games against France and Tunisia, the Americans came out with guns blazing and finished the first quarter leading by 26. By the halftime intermission, they had 78 points, another Olympic record, and more than six other teams who competed today had in full games. They answered their critics, then made those critics eat their words, then refused to let the critics have dessert afterwards.
Leading the charge for the US was New York Knicks gunner Carmelo Anthony. Anthony dropped a US Olympic record 37 points on 13-16 shooting and 10-12 shooting from three point range. Five other players ended the game in double figures, most notably Russell Westbrook who scored 21 points.
Nigeria, coming off of their first ever Olympic win over Tunisia (the only team in the field without an NBA player), was the last team to qualify for the Olympics with a win in the third place game of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament over the Dominican Republic. They feature NBA players Al-Farouq Aminu (New Orleans Hornets) and Ike Diogu, who was most recently with the San Antonio Spurs. They also have former George Mason point guard Tony Skinn, who was an integral part of their 2006 Final Four team. Needless to say, their efforts were not nearly enough.
The United States also set country-best marks in three point baskets made (26), field goal percentage (71%), and field goals made (59).
I take away two things from this game. First of all, it is apparently possible for a group of grown men to lose a basketball game by 83 points. I, for one, did not think that it was. I stand corrected.
Secondly, if Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade were there instead of James Harden, Anthony Davis, Deron Williams, and Andre Iguodala, this team would pulverize the 1992 Dream Team. Not even that team was capable of what we saw on the floor in London today. This 2012 Olympic team just raised the bar.