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USA 156, Nigeria 73: Is that enough of a rout for you?

Aug 2, 2012, 7:12 PM EDT

Anthony of the U.S. smiles from the bench during his game against Nigeria at their men's preliminary round Group A basketball match at the Basketball Arena during the London 2012 Olympic Games Reuters

USA Coach Mike Krzyzewski said after Tuesday’s game he was not trying to send a message to his players. He said that he didn’t mass substitute in the second unit then start the bench guys in the second half of the win over Tunisia as a message to USA starters after a lackadaisical opening few minutes the other day. He had planned to do it anyway.

Right. Of course he planned out this wild break from pattern. Why would you even question that?

Either way, it worked.

Team USA came out firing and focused and set a bushel of records on their way to destroying Nigeria 156-73 on Thursday in London. And I’m not sure it was that close.

Is this enough of a rout to make you happy? And by you, I mean people like me who said the USA didn’t earn a lot of style points when they beat Tunisia because of the sloppy start. Thursday’s win was nothing but style points.

Lets talk records:

• The 156 points is the most any team has ever scored in a single game in the history of the Olympics. The old record had been 138. It goes without saying that is more than the Dream Team ever scored in a game, in case you feel like starting that silly debate again.

Carmelo Anthony scored 37 points by himself, that is more points than any American ever in a single Olympic game, besting Stephon Marbury’s old record of 31. Part of the reason for this is that Nigeria just did not close out on ‘Melo at the three point line, they let him get good look after good look and he hit 10 of 12 from beyond the arc.

• This was the largest American margin of victory ever, at 83. The old record had been 68.

• The USA made 29 threes (on 46 shots), the old record had been 13 threes in a game. The 46 attempts is also a record.

• The USA shot 71.1 percent for the game, besting the old best ever of 68 percent by team USA.

That enough of a rout for you?

It was a slaughter from the opening tip — the USA started the game on a 13-0 run and put up 49 points in the first quarter on 82 percent shooting while hitting 11-of-14 threes. They just kept pouring it on from there, it was playground basketball. And the foot never comes off the gas because when Coach K empties the bench he still puts in All-Stars.

Nigeria helped this out by trying to play an up-tempo game as is their style — they rushed shots early in the clock. Thing is, they are bad shooters. Nigeria shot 41.2 percent on the night and was 6-of-27 from three. Which is actually better than the 29 percent they shot coming into the game. Nigeria also had 25 turnovers.

All of that fueled the USA running game. Which is what they do best.

Every American scored. After ‘Melo, the next three on the USA’s scoring list were Russell Westbrook with 21, Kobe Bryant with 16 (14 of those in the first quarter as he came out trying to establish the tone) and Kevin Love with 15.

Former NBA player Ike Diogu had 27 for Nigeria.

The USA is now 3-0 in group play. Next up for the Americans is Lithuania on Saturday. Lithuania is certainly a more talented team and a better test for the USA than Nigeria, but they are a slow-the-pace grinding team that will struggle to match the USA’s speed and athleticism.

But I promise it will be closer than this. The USA will not shoot 71 percent from the floor again.

  1. blackandbluedivision - Aug 2, 2012 at 7:16 PM

    “Ant…Boot”

    ~ Samuel L. Jackson/Nick Fury (“The Avengers”)

  2. blackandbluedivision - Aug 2, 2012 at 7:18 PM

    2012 USA Basketball team > The Dream Team

    • jimeejohnson - Aug 2, 2012 at 7:29 PM

      It’s easy to jump to conclusions. Let’s see what happens. The USA looked extremely good in this game but their opponent was definitely not a top 10 team in the tournament. Still, the incredible offensive display was amazing. Having Carmelo, Kobe, LeBron, and Kevin Durant on the same team is awesome in the purest sense of the word. These guys can shoot the lights out on any given night, but defense will win the gold just as it wins NBA championships.

    • cpaulii - Aug 2, 2012 at 7:58 PM

      Offensively, I think they are better, Down low they’re not. you put DHoward and Dwade on this team, get harden and Davis out, and watch out…

  3. paulhargis53 - Aug 2, 2012 at 7:23 PM

    Yep, that competition sure is much better than it was 20 years ago…..eye roll.

    • juanandonly24 - Aug 2, 2012 at 7:28 PM

      To be fair, Nigeria is a lot better than Algeria was and this Olympic team STILL managed to destroy the old record for margin of victory. 1992 Dream Team would still win, though.

    • cpaulii - Aug 2, 2012 at 8:23 PM

      I’ll give to you in Numbers:
      in 1992, 9% of the Basketball players in the Olympics were NBA Players. (all USA)
      in 2012. 29 % of the Basketball players in the Olympics are NBA Players.
      Tunisia is the only team that does not have an NBA player.

      • iambadkid2 - Aug 2, 2012 at 11:19 PM

        Not sure where you’re getting these percentages, but Drazen Petrovic played for Croatia in ’92.

      • blackandbluedivision - Aug 3, 2012 at 11:25 AM

        Tony Kukoc played for Croatia.

    • 1972wasalongtimeago - Aug 3, 2012 at 8:06 AM

      Thank you Debbie Downer. Not every team the US is going to play in these olympics is as good as the 1992 Angolans.

      • therealroman - Aug 3, 2012 at 1:20 PM

        seriously…guys…let’s be real here:
        many of the players on the nigerian team lived and played ball in the US. sure, Nigeria only had Ike and Aminu, but still, most of the other players are decent ballers too, almost all of them playing in european first leagues etc.
        How many players of the Angola team ’92 played outside of their country? That Angola team would be in a class with Tunisia and Nigeria had they played this year. There were two good teams in ’92, Croatia and Lithuania. Besides Kukoc and Petrovic, they had Tabak and Vrankovic as the only players who ever really played in the NBA. Lithuania had only one NBA-player, sarunas Marciulionis, and their big-man arvydas sabonis would later go to the NBA. That was it. Now look at the Teams at this year’s Olympics…the difference is mind-boggling
        I don’t care about that non-sense Dream Team / Team USA 2012 discussion, but everyone who doesn’t acknowledge the improvement of International basketball in the past 20 years doesn’t know what he’s talking about. I am from Germany and i can tell you that everything changed during the late 90’s, Germany only has Dirk but other countries in Southern, Western or Eastern Europe keep coming up with NBA players. Same goes for South American and african countries, even Asian countries.

  4. craigmaitland - Aug 2, 2012 at 7:24 PM

    Maybe it’s nit picking… But how do you give up 73 points to Nigeria.

    • blackandbluedivision - Aug 2, 2012 at 7:59 PM

      too busy scoring on the other end. Why tire yourself defending a team that bad?

      • florida727 - Aug 3, 2012 at 10:28 AM

        Excuse me for hitting the ‘way back’ button, but I thought this was too funny not to share. I still laugh about it to this day. I played in a pretty competitive rec league a long time ago. We averaged 114 points per game. Every team we played had THEIR highest scoring game against us. We had a small college All-American on our team who averaged 55 per game. First time we got together he told us he didn’t go inside the 3-point line, which we thought, okay, no problem, he was a tremendous shooter. For clarification, he made sure we knew he didn’t go inside EITHER 3-point line :) Most fun I’ve ever had playing basketball. BTW, on our team if you didn’t make a ‘3’ in a game, guess who bought the first round after the game? If you had an uncontested fast-break layup and didn’t pull up and shoot a ‘3’, yeah, you suffered the same fate. Break out your wallet. Ah… the way basketball should be played.

    • brettb3 - Aug 2, 2012 at 9:10 PM

      Maybe because it took about 5 seconds for the U.S. to score on every possession.

  5. bucrightoff - Aug 2, 2012 at 7:27 PM

    I thought Carmelo said the Olympics would help make him a better teammate? Being the only guy in double digit shot attempts and having fewer assists than Kobe suggets a long year ahead for Knicks fans.

  6. acdc363 - Aug 2, 2012 at 7:43 PM

    This game soooooo awesome

  7. surly1n1nd1anapol1s - Aug 2, 2012 at 7:45 PM

    Coach K said that if we allowed college players the result would be no gold. It’s a game like this that shows him a liar.

    • atwatercrushesokoye - Aug 2, 2012 at 8:26 PM

      Well Lehigh beat Dook so Coach Blue Rat was probably just talking about his own college team.

    • justwannawinna - Aug 3, 2012 at 6:42 AM

      Well spain if rubio had played would school any group of college players and even without maybe could do its not true plus, its a great experience for the nba all stars not only to learn how to be more technically sound but to play in the Olympics is a great honor but if all teams were told only amatures were allowed to play it would get interesting

  8. adzs - Aug 2, 2012 at 7:45 PM

    With the majority of my friends being Nigerian, the glee this rout has provided me with can not be described in words lool :D Too be fair Nigeria were fairly decent on offense (as expected) but they’re effort on defence compared to their previous games was actually a disgrace; they pretty much threw the game in the first 5 minutes…

  9. cpaulii - Aug 2, 2012 at 7:54 PM

    Impressive!!
    Kobe 16 in 10 minutes
    Melo 37 in 14 Minutes

    Never seen a shooting like that in a game.. it doesn’t matter who is defending, you still have to make them..( even though the 3 point line is 1′ 9″ shorter).

    Kobe still incredible, and the best defender on the team.
    the Nicks better learn how to utilize Melo..too bad his defense is so bad…

    Melo, Kobe, Durant are incredible offensive players,,,

    • soflasfinest - Aug 2, 2012 at 9:59 PM

      You think Kobe is the best defender? Wow. There’s this guy named Lebron James who’s ok. U should watch him one day

      • knicksukcats - Aug 2, 2012 at 10:13 PM

        You mean that guy who is just a help defender. No thanks. When you see him guard ppl one on one on a consistent basis then he will be good. Kobe is better easily.

      • soflasfinest - Aug 2, 2012 at 11:52 PM

        Oh you mean a help defender like the defensive player of the yr serge ibaka? Ya help defenders don’t mean anything. 1-5 son, 1-5!

    • justwannawinna - Aug 3, 2012 at 6:53 AM

      Lebron shuts down guys when he plays, Kobe has a 7 foot man guarding the rim if players do get by him like LBJ. Anyways its not comparable since their style of defense is different, Kobe plays fundamentally sound defense whereas lebron uses his much superior athletics to make up for that and more. Now lebrons more fundamentally sound defender, so aint no argument. Yes Kobe is still a better scorer, but lebron is simply a better around player that knows how to pass like magic and penetrate like jordan his shots still not as lethal as Kobe or Durant though.

      • justwannawinna - Aug 3, 2012 at 6:55 AM

        Lebrons becoming a more fundamental defender.*

  10. lmvs2012 - Aug 2, 2012 at 8:16 PM

    Mannnn…..u.s.a will destroy spain,brazil,russia,argentina like whay they did to nigeria by a dozen! Not below 30 points!…indeed!

  11. mojosmagic - Aug 2, 2012 at 8:21 PM

    The only thing Nigeria is good at are email banking scams. Prince Omanabi wants me to send him $5,000 to help him get his 50M back.

    • atwatercrushesokoye - Aug 2, 2012 at 8:27 PM

      But in exchange he’ll send you a handsome reward…

  12. lakerluver - Aug 2, 2012 at 8:51 PM

    Coming out of college, I thought Ike Diogu would be a star in the NBA. Obviously, I was wrong.

    • therealhtj - Aug 2, 2012 at 9:51 PM

      Ike had 27. It wasn’t his fault. They wouldn’t have broken 50 without him.

  13. mannyicey - Aug 2, 2012 at 9:10 PM

    So I was thinking that you cannot have that high of a shooting percentage if you had no defense. I mean, how can you go over 80% in 2s and 63% from 3?

    I don’t know about if they could beat the Dream Team, but that was history.

    As far as Nigeria is concerned, I felt bad, but they needed this butt-kicking. You need that because they will definitely try to upgrade their National team. That was embarrassing, but Lithuania, Brazil, Spain, China and Argentina was embarrassed before, too. Call it a baptism by fire, if you want to. But Nigeria needed it in order to get better.

  14. shanelsweet - Aug 2, 2012 at 9:40 PM

    Where’s the sportsmanship in hoisting up 3 pointers after building an insurmountable lead? The fair thing to do would be to step inside the line. The reports says they weren’t able to defend Carmelo outside, so why stand out there jacking up 3’s while running up the score?

  15. thenmoveback - Aug 2, 2012 at 9:59 PM

    U.S.A. U.S.A U.S.A U.S.A

  16. wwwocls - Aug 2, 2012 at 10:35 PM

    Words to our guys:

    Bury every God damn team in the field and don’t listen to anybody (like one idiot “writer” on CBSSports that just wrote a column praying for some team to beat the US) who thinks you should get beaten.

    Seriously, some guy named “Larry” something or other wants the US to lose. Check it out and be disgusted.

  17. yousuxxors - Aug 3, 2012 at 12:52 AM

    lebron is hands down the best defender in the world

  18. yousuxxors - Aug 3, 2012 at 12:53 AM

    kobe was maybe 6 years agov

  19. henchman24 - Aug 3, 2012 at 4:18 AM

    Worst Olympic hoops team hands down. What a disgrace.

    • sham13ert - Aug 3, 2012 at 11:44 AM

      Worst comment on the board hands down. What a disgrace.

  20. ob1canobie - Aug 3, 2012 at 7:18 AM

    This is a display of poor sportmanship and arrogance on the world stage for all to see. It doesnt surprise me to come from the classless acts like Kobe or LeBron, but it surprises the hell out of me from Coach K. Sorry I would have dialed this back. It isnt like this point spread counted as any more of a win or made us any closer to a medal. It just soured the win….

  21. mystixa - Aug 3, 2012 at 9:50 AM

    Next up, 2012 US Olympic Basketball team goes to rural high school, beats them, brags about their big lead. Blah.. this is pathetic, and really shows our teams poor sportsmanship. As a coach you can slow a team down all you want. Just tell them to run the clock out at a certain point, done.

    This is basically an american sport. A win like this is pretty much akin to when Man United comes to the US with its B team and beats any MLS team they want. At least that’s professional, and people pay to see them do that specifically. The Olympics are supposed to have a better spirit then that.

    • mystixa - Aug 3, 2012 at 9:52 AM

      oh and this is posted by a proud american btw. Just one who thinks we should be good winners too.

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