Team USA decided to let everyone know they have come to London to win, when they demolished Nigeria, 156-73, in men’ s Group A basketball. The awesome performance on Thursday night, August 2, 2012, broke several all-time Olympic records for men’ s hoops, including total points (156), points in the first half (78), and margin of victory (83 points). Carmelo Anthony, who plays for the NBA’ s New York Knicks, set an American team record when he scored 37 points, breaking Stephon Marbury’ s previous record of 31 against Spain in 2004.
The American team scored at such a torrid pace that they reached the hundred point mark with 5 minutes left in the third quarter. Kobe Bryant may have been expressing a bit of sympathy for the Nigerian team, saying, ”When we get hot, it’s a big problem. So you have all these guys on one team and then all get hot on the same night, it’s tough.” Coach Mike Krzyzewski went right to the heart of the matter, when he quipped, ”Our guys just couldn’t miss.”
In addition to Carmelo Anthony’s 37 points, Russell Westbrook finished with 21 points, Kobe Bryant scored 16 points, Kevin Love scored 15 and Kevin Durant had 14 points for the American squad. Ike Diogu was high scorer for the Nigerian team with a respectable 27 points, but his effort was rendered meaningless by the unprecedented show of power basketball. Diogu, who has played for 8 NBA teams during his pro career, was awestruck by the American performance. He simply said, “When they shoot like this, I don’t know if there is any team that can beat them.”
The U.S. effort topped the previous Olympic high score of 138 points set by Brazil, when they defeated Egypt in 1988 at the Seoul Summer Games. In addition to the new Olympic records, Team USA also set all time U.S. records for 3-pointers (26), field goals (59) and field-goal percentage (71%).
Team USA, who will meet Lithuania in their next game, is now 3-0 in the Group A standings. The players are well rested and feeling confident, as they take aim at another basketball gold medal for the United States.