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USA thumps Angola 121-66, now things get challenging

Sep 6, 2010, 1:17 PM EDT

Thumbnail image for Gay_dunk_USA.jpgFor one quarter, the USA looked like the focused, efficient, powerful team we expect them to be.

And that’s all they needed on Labor Day, one quarter of labor. The USA was up 20 in the first quarter, knocked down 18 three pointers for the game and defeated an outmatched Angola team 121-66 in the round of 16 at the FIBA World Championships.

It was that easy. It won’t be that easy from here on out.

Angola played a sagging style of man-to-man defense that constantly left USA shooters open — a strategy the USA will see variations of going forward against zone defenses. Chauncey Billups knocked down a three to start the game but the USA missed their next four jumpers. Angola got back in transition defense at first and it was close for almost three minutes.

Then Kevin Durant attacked the rim a couple times, things opened up and the shots started to fall. The USA shot 47 percent from three for the game, which has to give pause to those teams which would have Team USA shoot jumpers. It may still be the best strategy, but Team USA has guys who can knock down shots.

The USA also started getting the turnovers they need and running midway through the first and they had 14 first quarter fast break points. Really the game was a runaway from early on. Billups led the USA with 19 points including 5 of 7 from beyond the arc, followed by Durant, Rudy Gay and Eric Gordon (5 of 6 from deep) all with 17. Derrick Rose also showcased that jumper he has been working on this summer going 3 of 4 from three.

That Gay did so well is a good sign after he missed a practice with a strained groin. He is clearly back and ready to run.

We could nitpick that the USA’s defensive intensity let up at points, that some bad habits from previous games crept back in. But why? The USA looked good when they had to and if they got a little sloppy at times in a 55 point win I can live with that.

But the times the USA can play one quarter and win are over. Things are about to get a lot tougher.

Next up for USA is winner of the Russian/New Zealand game. So most likely Russia, which brings a much longer front line — 6’11” Sasha Kaun formerly of Kansas and newly-signed Knick center Timofey Mozgov — to the party. Russia also plays a much tougher match-up zone that may give the USA some issues and fewer wide-open looks than they got against Angola.

If the USA gets past Russia on Thursday, they will likely play Argentina next, followed by either Spain or Turkey in the gold medal game.

The easy romps are over for the USA. They are going to have to earn their wins from here on out. If Team USA shoots like they did against Angola and play with the intensity they showed in the first quarter, they should be just fine.

  1. cygnus x-1 - Sep 6, 2010 at 6:18 PM

    ok we get it already!the USA b team might lose but get off thier case already and let them enjoy winning when they do and against whoever they play. stop with the nitpicking! we get it, it will make whoever beats the USA feel like they accomplished something and that thier third world country is somehow better than the USA for doing so. good for you if you do end up beating the “B” team but your country will still suck compared to ours so get over it already.

  2. MarcoConway - Sep 7, 2010 at 10:23 AM

    cygnus x-1 you are a complete idiot. I love americans but you give your country a bad name. You are one ignorant human being!!!!

  3. Marco - Sep 7, 2010 at 10:28 AM

    You are a complete idiot for your comment. I love Americans but people like you give them a bad name. You are very ignorant!!!!!
    I would love to know your age and what state you reside in. Our countries don’t suck and we are not drowning in 15 trillion of debt brought on grredy Wall Street who should be in Jail!!!!!!!

  4. cygnus x-1 - Sep 7, 2010 at 11:53 AM

    I am 50 yrs. old and live in the midwest. if your country is so great what are you doing living here?could your country get by without U.S.aid?maybe I would feel that way if I didn’t turn on the news and see people protesting and burning our flag. matbe I am tired of the rest of the world blaming the U.S. for everyhing that is wrong but taking our money anyway. we would not be trillions in debt if we did not have to help pay for every disater that happens or keep sending aid with no hope of it ever being repaid.I realy could care less what you or anybody else thinks of me I am a proud American.just because I don’t share your tree hugging liberal share the wealth views doesn’t make me a bad person. just out of curiosity what what third rate country are you from?

  5. Mark - Sep 7, 2010 at 12:52 PM

    Hey Marco and the rest of the non-USA readers: this guy Cygnus is probably some right wing nut who voted for George Bush. Please forgive his ignorance. I think most Americans have a better understanding of the world, so don’t think that we are all bad!

  6. joshua - Sep 7, 2010 at 2:53 PM

    i think that the usa team rocks and they are going to beat everybody!!!!!!!!!!!!!! wooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!

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