A lot has been made recently about whether this year’s US Men’s Basketball squad could top the original 1992 Dream Team. I’ve tried to avoid it, as it felt as a media ploy to generate interest in a US team that is clearly going to cruise to a gold medal. But after today’s 156-73 destruction of team Nigeria, they may have a point with this whole Dream Team talk.
Team USA broke just about every record they could, scoring the most points in an Olympic game (previously 138, set by Brazil in 1988), scoring an Olympic record 78 first half points, and setting US records by shooting 71% from the field, hitting 26 threes and making 59 field goals.
Commentator Doug Collins believed the game to be over at 13-0 about a minute into the game. Amazingly, that’s true.
The final 39 minutes of the game was just time for the US to pad their stats, set some records, and fix some problems they had in their previous game against Tunisia.
That game began in stark contrast to today’s. Whereas the US had a 13 point lead a minute into the Nigeria game, that was the same lead they held at halftime against Tunisia, as the starters struggled out of the gate.
Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant both got off to hot starts against Nigeria, scoring 14 and 9 points respectively in the first quarter.
But the real star of the game was Carmelo Anthony, who came of the bench to score 37 points, hitting 13 of his 16 shots and 10 of 12 from beyond the arc. This followed his 6 for 6, 16 point game against Tunisia, making Anthony the hottest player on the planet right now. He’s not too shabby at basketball either.
Nigeria, despite their 83 point loss, was not without highlights of their own. PG Tony Skinn had a slick ankle breaker on James Harden. And that’s about it.
Team USA put on perhaps the most dominant basketball performance as a team of all time.
“When they shoot like this, I don’t know if there’s any team that can beat them,” said Nigerian forward Ike Diogu.
Well, maybe that ’92 Dream Team could. Who knows?