Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Angola is STILL Not a Threat
(Boulder-CO) It may have not been the, 116-48, thumping the 1992 Dream Team dished out, but the "Redeem Team" again made short work of Angola, 97-86, late last night. Led by the physical play of LeBron James and the continued offensive renaissance of Dwayne Wade, the Americans looked unbeatable when in the open floor while still struggling to dial in the international three-point line.
The USA played tremendously active defense in the first 30 minutes. By not allowing Angola to score even 20 points in each of the first three quarters, Team USA was able to crank up their transition offense after defensive rebounds and shot 55% from the field.
There are two things which I would like to highlight for Team USA against an obviously outmatched opponent like Angola. First off, Team USA did a very good job of protecting the basketball. The "Redeem Team" turned the ball over just twelve times and created 13 steals. In an exhibition-style game there is always the potential for the game to become very sloppy, especially in transition, but the USA avoided such a let down. The second area is a testament to Coach K's commitment to defense. The USA could have easily allowed the much smaller Angolans to hoist jumper after jumper while staying content to just clear the defensive glass, but instead Team USA kept the perimeter pressure on Angola's backcourt which disrupted any attempt by them to run offensive sets.
Dwayne Wade's once again led Team USA in scoring with 19 points as everyone but Jason Kidd scored for Team USA. Dwight Howard added 14 points and a game-high two blocks and Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James each scored twelve points with Anthony grabbing a team-high six rebounds and James flipping a game-high five assists.
Up next for the Americans are two far more competitive match-ups with Greece and Spain. Greece, the team that stunned them two years ago in the semifinals of the world championships, is one of the best three-point shooting teams in these games and two days later comes a real test against Spain.