USA Dominates Germany 106-57, Advances To Quarterfinals Undefeated
The 2008 U.S. Men's Olympic Team (5-0) compiled 40 minutes of efficient offense and harassing defense in its final preliminary round game against Germany (1-4), and in the process recorded its largest margin of victory yet of the 2008 Olympics posting a 106-57 win on Monday night at Wukesong Arena in Beijing, China.
Everybody scored for the USA, led by 22 points and 10 rebounds from Dwight Howard (Orlando Magic), who shot 9-of-10 from the field. LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers) contributed 18 points; Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers) added 13; and Chris Paul (New Orleans Hornets), who dished three assists, and Dwyane Wade (Miami Heat) tallied 10 points each.
Advancing as Group B's No. 1 seed, the USA faces Australia (2-3), Group A's No. 4 finisher, in the medal round quarterfinals on Wednesday at 8 p.m. (8 a.m. EDT time on USA, USA HD). The quarterfinals action will also feature Spain versus Croatia (2:30 p.m. Beijing time); Lithuania will meet China (4:45 p.m.); and Argentina will play Greece at 10:15 p.m.
'We're excited about finishing pool play undefeated and getting on to the medal round,' said USA and Duke University head coach Mike Krzyzewski. 'We're healthy. I think our team has played well. We're very excited about getting in the medal round. It's time to try to win a gold medal.'
The game was never a contest as Carmelo Anthony (Denver Nuggets) scored the USA first points with game barely three seconds old and never looked back. Sprinting on to a 20-3 lead less than seven minutes into the first period, the U.S. held Germany's NBA tandem of Dirk Nowitzki and Chris Kaman to just five first quarter points combined and to only 20 total points for the game. While Germany was held to just 30.1 percent shooting from the field, including 7-of-30 from 3-point, the red, white and blue outscored Germany in the paint 62-26 and won the battle on the boards 53-38.
'I think tonight's game was very exciting for me,' Howard said. 'I talked to Coach K earlier today before the game, and he really told me to get myself going and get myself back into how I know how to play basketball.'
Behind eight points from Howard and seven from James, the USA raced to a 20-3 advantage after James snatched a steal, and converted a Paul assist with 3:35 remaining in the first period. After the first 10 minutes the Americans led by 19 points, 31-12.
The USA stretched its advantage to 24 points in the second period thanks in part to four 3-pointers, including two consecutive threes from James. Forcing 12 turnovers in the first half, the USA was 7-of-14 from deep in the first 20 minutes and headed to the locker room up 53-29 at halftime.
'We're trying to play with a chip on our shoulder,' James said. 'We go out every night and try to get better. Going against Greece and going against Spain were easy to get up for. We could have easily had one of those games (tonight) where we came in and made excuses, but we didn't take a step backwards today and that was good.'
The USA continued its hot shooting out of the break, opening the third period with an old-fashioned 3-point play from Howard, who scored 10 points in the third quarter alone, followed by consecutive 3-pointers from Bryant, and the score had reached 62-29 just 1:24 into the period. The USA hit two more 3-pointers before the quarter ended, including one more from Bryant and one from Paul, to help take a 83-46 lead headed into the final stanza.
As the USA raced to 23 more points, including seven from Chris Bosh (Toronto Raptors) and six from Carlos Boozer (Utah Jazz), Germany made just five shots and added 11 points to bring the game to its final 106-57 tally.
In Tuesday's other games, Group A saw Croatia (3-2) easily beat Iran (0-5) 91-57 with the help of 16 points from Marin Rozic and Marko Tomas; Australia (3-2) shot 16-of-25 from 3-point and Andrew Bogut tallied 23 points to top Lithuania (4-1) 106-75; and Luis Scola tallied 37 points to help Argentina (4-1) handle Russia (1-4) 91-79.
Headed into the medal round quarterfinals, Lithuania advances as Group A's No. 1 seed, Argentina is No. 2, Croatia is No. 3 and Australia is No. 4; while Russia and Iran have concluded their Olympic play.
In Group B competition, Yiannis Bouroussis and Vassilis Spanoulis scored 19 points to lead Greece (3-2) past China (2-3) 91-77; and behind 31 points from Pau Gasol, Spain (4-1) cruised past Angola (0-5) 98-50.
After No. 1 seed USA, Spain earned Group B's No. 2 spot, followed by No. 3 Greece and No. 4 China; while Germany and Angola will exit the tournament.
With game times still to be determined, semifinal match ups will be as follows: the winner of Spain versus Croatia will play the winner of Lithuania versus China; and the winner of Argentina versus Greece will meet the winner of USA versus Australia. The quarterfinal losers will conclude their Olympic play.
The Olympic men's gold and bronze medal games will be held Aug. 24 at 2:30 p.m. and 12:00 p.m., respectively.
Serving as 2008 USA Basketball Men's Senior National Team assistant coaches are Syracuse University and Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim, New York Knicks head mentor Mike D'Antoni and Portland Trail Blazers head coach Nate McMillan.