For the moment, the United States of America have silenced their critics, with a 121-66 mauling of African giants, Angola in Istanbul.
Chauncey Billups led the USA scoring with 19 points, as the veteran guard finally found his touch from the three-point arc, draining five triples from seven attempts, after poor showings in the group phase. Joaquim Gomes led Angola’s cause with 21, a game high.
Mike Krzyzewski’s side have been winning games, but, at the same time have shown weaknesses in their defence around the perimeter and their marking in the paint. At the other-end, they are deadly.
This win more than proved it.
“We were very unselfish, we had 30 assists. We stayed aggressive for the whole game.” Krzyzewski said at the after-game press conference.
Angola got as close as 12-7 in the first quarter – but, a 10-0 run, led by Kevin Durant, who hit four points in that run, and ended with 17, broke the game open, and ended it as a contest. Gomes stopped the run with a two-pointer – which was answered at the other end by America’s Lamar Odom. By then, it was 24-9.
Buckets were traded towards the end, but the damage had been done. USA were up 33-13 at the end of the first and with Durant scoring 12 of those 33 points, Angola were always going to be playing catch-up.
It was more of the same in the second quarter, the lead rose to 29, thanks to buckets from Billups and Durant. Two three-pointers from Roberto Fortes gave Angola and it’s fans inside the Sinan Erdem Arena some highlights. But by then, the States were up at half-time, 65-38.
The pace of the contest slowed in the third, as back-to-back triples from Derrick Rose was a brief highlight in what was a one-sided game.
Russell Westbrook brought the hundred up for the favourites, with a breakaway dunk, as the U.S were in a relaxed mood for the last remaining minutes.
“We have great respect for Angola.” Krzyzewski stated after the game.
“I coached against them at the Olympics and they played us a great game. We showed some of that game to my players and they responded.”
John Hobbs for TalkBasket.net