Maybe Coach K should bench the regular United States starters a little more often.
Turns out that they’ll turn into elite shooters who are capable of breaking records through deft, unprecedented shooting the very next game.
Pulling off a flawless offensive performance that included dunks, alley-oops and an unbelievable 29 three-pointers on 63 percent shooting from beyond the arc. The United States moved to 3-0 in Group Play following a 156-73 win over an overwhelmed Nigerian team. The Americans came out firing on all cylinders and didn’t stop, after starting off the game with a 49-point first quarter.
Yes, you saw that right: the Americans finished with 156 points. They set a record with a 83-point margin of victory, which broke a record that they set in 1956.
The tone was essentially set from then on. The Americans had 11 three-pointers by the end of the first half, finishing with 78 points in the first 20 minutes, and ended the game with an Olympic record 29 three-pointers to finish with 156 points, the most ever by an Olympic team. The 156 points eclipsed the former mark of 138 points, previously held by Brazil.
Carmelo Anthony set an American Olympic record of his own after finishing with 37 points on 13-of-16 shooting, including ten three-pointers out of 12 attempts. He came off the bench in the first, played for a majority of the first half and was out of the game midway through the third quarter. It’s not crazy to believe that he probably would have ended up with at least 50 had he played the rest of the half.
Then again, the Americans called off the dogs midway near the start of the fourth. Anthony Davis, Andre Iguodala and James Harden all got extended minutes, yet still poured it on with a 37-point fourth quarter. Team USA could have broke 40 points again had they not brought the ball back on several fastbreak’s and considerably slowed the pace down.
The ball couldn’t stop falling through the net. Simple as that. Tyson Chandler, LeBron James and Anthony Davis were the only players without a converted three-pointer. Three different players finished with 3 three-pointers, Kevin Durant finished with four and Carmelo Anthony led the way with his record-setting night.
Russell Westbrook was the second-leading scorer with 21 points on 7-of-8 shooting. Former NBA player Ike Diogu led Nigeria with 27 points on 11-of-17 shooting, while current NBA player Al-Farouq Aminu finished with seven points on 2-of-8 shooting.
The Americans also pulled off another Olympic record with 38 assists, including ten from Deron Williams, seven from Chris Paul and five from LeBron James. As a result of the crisp passing, players got their open shots and converted them, which probably explains the 71 percent shooting from the field.
The Nigerians did all they could to keep up. They didn’t play a horrible game finishing with 73 points and converting 41 percent of their shots, but they didn’t stand a chance. The Americans couldn’t miss a jump shot and played offense to perfection, through pinpoint passing, getting 25 points off 24 turnovers, and taking shots in rhythm. The jump shooting was contagious and everyone caught it, even Anthony Davis who took and made a baseline jumper–his first non alley-oop field-goal attempt of the Olympics.
Nigeria was the last subpar nation the Americans will face for the remainder of the Olympics, as they take on Lithuania Saturday and Argentina on Monday.