Skip to content

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.

Latest Posts
  1. Kobe Bryant’s popularity in China knows no bounds

    Aug 3, 2015, 11:17 PM EDT

    cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznpwzjzdnimmu0mmfiyjq3nwrlytblymy1zja0mgnhnmiw AP

    Kobe Bryant is Beatles during the British Invasion level popular in China.

  2. Report: Nets doing Earl Clark a favor and waiving him

    Aug 3, 2015, 9:59 PM EDT

    Brooklyn Nets v Atlanta Hawks- Game One Getty Images

    Brooklyn could have easily kept Clark through training camp

  3. Jerry Colangelo: Paul George will attend USA Basketball minicamp meeting, won’t play

    Aug 3, 2015, 9:03 PM EDT

    Team USA Showcase Getty Images

    Pacers star maintains status as lock for 2016 Olympic roster – if he wants to play

  4. Klay Thompson’s brother called up to the White Sox

    Aug 3, 2015, 8:16 PM EDT

    Chicago White Sox v Kansas City Royals Getty Images

    Trayce Thompson gives Thompson family yet another professional athlete

  5. LeBron James to attend Team USA minicamp, leave early

    Aug 3, 2015, 7:25 PM EDT

    US forward LeBron James celebrates after Getty Images

    That’ll keep him a viable candidate for 2016 Olympic roster

  6. Report: Mavericks give Salah Mejri fully guaranteed salary

    Aug 3, 2015, 5:36 PM EDT

    BASKET-EURL-ANADOLU EFES-REAL MADRID Getty Images

    Dallas loading up on players. What will roster look like in November?

  7. Nancy Lieberman says DeMarcus Cousins happy Kings hired her

    Aug 3, 2015, 3:58 PM EDT

    Nancy Lieberman Nancy Lieberman

    Will new Sacramento assistant coach improve Cousins’ relationship with George Karl?

  8. Ray Allen: “I won’t officially retire”

    Aug 3, 2015, 12:50 PM EDT

    Ray Allen AP

    “I didn’t miss it. I realized how much time I missed not being home with my kids.” —Ray Allen on last season

  9. Report: Kings have no interest in Hedo Turkoglu

    Aug 3, 2015, 9:55 AM EDT

    Washington Wizards v Los Angeles Clippers Getty Images

    The Kings were never a likely landing spot.

  10. Report: 76ers to sign Jordan McRae a year after stashing him

    Aug 3, 2015, 8:30 AM EDT

    Philadelphia 76ers v Utah Jazz Getty Images

    What will J.P. Tokoto, future Philadelphia second-rounders think of McRae’s contract?

  11. Timberwolves coach Flip Sauders returns to Twitter to say he loves three pointers

    Aug 3, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT

    Flip Saunders AP

    The Timberwolves roster doesn’t have a lot of quality three point shooters on it.

  12. Magic guarantee Dewayne Dedmon’s contract

    Aug 3, 2015, 12:01 AM EDT

    Orlando Magic v Brooklyn Nets Getty Images

    Orlando keeps backup center on minimum contract

  13. With Nikola Pekovic still hurt, Flip Saunders says Karl-Anthony Towns could start. Or Gorgui Dieng.

    Aug 2, 2015, 9:32 PM EDT

    cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznpwu3mmzjztazntu1ogzhywnkzju2otmyzgnloty5otbl1 AP

    Saunders has a versatile front line, but does he have enough shooting to give them room to operate?

Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. K. Bryant (1808)
  2. L. James (1506)
  3. J. Thompson (1472)
  4. T. Thompson (1337)
  5. J. Smith (1301)
  1. S. Vujacic (1296)
  2. M. Scott (1283)
  3. P. George (1270)
  4. S. Curry (1155)
  5. J. Noah (1106)