FIBA World Championship: USA vs. Angola Live Blog
The U.S. unleashed an arsenal of three-pointers to shoot down Angola -- hitting 18-of-38 attempts (47.4 percent). Billups and Gordon hit five three-pointers apiece, while seven different U.S. players connected on triples and all 12 players scored.
It was clear from the start that the U.S.' first do-or-die game wouldn't be that competitive. Not only was Angola without its best player in Olimpio Cipriano, but the team doesn't possess a player taller than 6-foot-8, making them undersized and undermanned.
Team USA outscored Angola 33-13 in the first period and held a 27-point lead at the half. After stretching the advantage to 35 in the third quarter, the U.S' second unit really blew things up in the final period, wearing down an exhausted Angola team and making it a 55-point difference at the end.
Most impressive of all, the U.S. scored 41 baskets on 28 assists and turned the ball over just five times all game.
Coach K's team will now get some rest before facing the winner of the Russia/New Zealand game on Thursday (11 a.m. ET) in the quarterfinals.
The U.S. has now hit 18 threes.
Tyson Chandler might as well be 15-feet tall. Angola has no one over 6-foot-8 and the 7-1 Chandler is dominating the glass on both ends.
Granger gets one to go, knocking down a floater in the lane.
Team USA is starting to slow the pace down, but hasn't stopped firing from deep. Curry hits another three.
Westbrook throws a pass to Odom -- which unfortunately is a turnover since the Lakers star was sitting on the bench. But when you're holding a 43-point lead, those kind of mistakes are excusable, right Coach K?
Gordon hits his third three of the game as the U.S. continues to be lethal from downtown.
Gay hits two free throws after Love snagged a steal on the other end and threw a beautiful outlet pass.
The U.S. put together another impressive quarter, outscoring Angola 26-18 and taking a 35-point lead heading into the final period. The Stars and Stripes are really putting on a shooting clinic in their first elimination game, hitting 14-of-26 three-pointers through three quarters.
Gordon -- who had 21 points last time out -- hits another three and is starting to get it going.
Gomes with another bucket to give him 20 of Angola's 51 points.
Gordon hits a three from the corner to make it a 35-point game.
Odom hits a three of his own after Angola dares him to put it up.
Team USA takes a 27-point advantage headed into the locker room, but can't help but be frustrated after Angola's offense found its rhythm in the second quarter.
The U.S. outscored Angola 33-13 in the first quarter, but Angola responded in the second period with 25 points after the U.S.'s defense lost some of its energy and failed to close out on several jumpers.
Durant leads the way for the U.S. with 17 points and five rebounds and Billups has chipped in 16. The U.S. shot 58 percent from the field in the first half and racked up an impressive 16 assists on 22 baskets.
With the outcome no longer in question, the U.S. will likely rest its starters a majority of the second half. But if the defense begins to collapse again -- as it did in the second quarter -- Coach K will bring his starters back in. I don't think the Duke coach has a stomach for bad defense.
Rose breaks Angola's zone defense with a three from the corner.
Chandler picks up another foul, he now has three.
Fortes makes another bucket. I'm sure all of Angola is wondering where that was through their country's first five games. Okay, maybe not.
U.S. forces a shot clock violation, a welcome sight for Coach K.
Billups (this is not a repeat) hits another three, he has 14 points.
But Angola is knocking down some tough shots of their own on the other end, keeping this from being a complete and utter blowout. Roberto Fortes -- who apparently was 0-14 in the tournament coming into today's game -- is 3-of-3 from three-point range.
Westbrook with an incredible missed dunk. This guy might be the most athletic player in the NBA, which is a title worth bragging about.
Eric Gordon follows the miss with a dunk of his own.
Gomes with another bucket for Angola. He's played well against the U.S. big men and has 11 of his team's 18 points.
Gay wastes no time with a steal and a basket. U.S.'s second unit stepping up on defense.
Simply put, Angola is overmatched. It doesn't help that the U.S. is rested and running all over the floor.
Iguodala misses a three as the clock winds down, but Westbrook pulls down a huge rebound in traffic and is fouled on the put-back. He makes both free throws to put Team USA up by 20 as the first period comes to a close.
Several U.S. baskets since my last post (which was 59 seconds ago), including a Kevin Love three-point play on a bucket and a foul.
Iguodala with a nice play, tipping Angola's shot off the rim, a savvy FIBA move.
Durant drills another three from the top of the key as the U.S.'s lead grows to 15.
Odom blocks a shot on the other end and gets the ball up court quickly to Durant, who scores and draws the foul. He hits the free throw to finish the three-point play.
After a miss by Rose, Gomes scores under the hoop to make it a one-point game.
Billups wastes no time and drills a three from the top of the key to start the game. Angola promptly responds with an airball, which leads to a Durant dunk on a breakaway.
Team USA is 4-0 all-time against Angola, with the latest victory coming in the 2008 Olympics by 21 points. The Dream Team famously beat Angola by 68 points in 1992, including a 46-1 run.
The U.S. is going with the same starting line-up it has used all tournament -- Odom, Durant, Iguodala, Billups and Rose. Angola starts Carlos Almeida, Miguel Lutonda, Carlos Morais, Joaquim Gomes and Eduardo Mingas.
Olimpio Cipriano is the team's leading scorer at 14.8 points per game, but will not start today due to an injury suffered last game.
Win or go home.
Those are Team USA's only options. Today, the U.S. takes on Angola (tip-off at 11 a.m. ET) in the first round of elimination play at the FIBA World Championship in Turkey.
After going 5-0 in pool play with relative ease, the U.S. advanced to the Round of 16 as the winner of Group B. Angola (2-3) finished fourth in Group B, notching victories over Jordan and Germany, but losing handedly to Serbia (50 points), Argentina (21) and Australia (21).
Although today's game is do-or-die, the U.S. is expected to cruise to a win, just as it did in four of its five pool games, with the exception of a tight contest against Brazil. The U.S. won its final pool play matchup by 35 points over Tunisia on Thursday.
Mike Krzyzewski is unlikely to mess with success and will probably trot out the same starting lineup of Lamar Odom, Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala, Chauncey Billups and Derrick Rose. Eric Gordon led the U.S. with 21 points off the bench on Thursday, but is better utilized as a supersub.
After a few days of rest and relaxing (and a visit from Spike Lee!), the U.S. should come out strong in the first quarter. As we've seen throughout the tournament in Turkey, Coach K will utilize his bench extensively once the lead is in hand.