USA Rips Through Angola 121-66
Sept. 6, 2010 • Istanbul, Turkey
Like a one-sided championship boxing match, the USA (6-0) delivered a series of punches to quickly knockout African Zone champ Angola (2-4) Monday night and earn a 121-66 victory to advance to the 2010 FIBA World Championship medal round quarterfinals. The USA was led to the win by Chauncey Billups’ (Denver Nuggets) 19 points on 5-of-7 shooting from 3-point, and by 17 points from Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder), Rudy Gay (Memphis Grizzlies) and Eric Gordon (Los Angeles Clippers).
With the win, the USA’s sixth of the championship, the Americans receive two days off before returning to face Russia on Sept. 9 in a medal quarterfinals contest. Russia advanced to the quarterfinals after defeating New Zealand 78-56 in Monday’s nightcap. The USA’s last meeting against Russia in World Championship play came in 2002 when the U.S. battled to a convincing 106-82 win.
“Our guys were sharp, they played hard and they were very unselfish. We played very well,” remarked USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Duke University). “We were very unselfish. It showed in the number of extra passes that we made. We had 30 assists.
“I thought we just stayed aggressive the whole game. A couple days of practice, I think, really helped us. We had not practiced since Aug. 27 and we had two good days of practice. The guys have responded. I’m just pleased that we played like we practiced which is always what a coach wants to see. Hopefully we can keep that attitude as we go into our next game.”
A Billups three and a dunk from Durant got the U.S. out to a 5-0 lead and the red, white and blue never looked back. Owning a 5-4 advantage, the USA reeled off seven straight points and sprinted on for a 17-3 run to grab control 22-7 with 3:41 remaining in the opening quarter.
Owning a 33-13 lead after one quarter, the USA kept the pressure on Angola and at halftime was completely in charge, leading 65-38.
The first half was as impressive of a half as the U.S. had played in the ’10 World Championship. Scoring 33 and 32 points, respectively, in the two quarters, the U.S. had just one turnover in the first 20 minutes, it came with 1:45 left in the first quarter. Of its 22 made shots, 17 USA baskets were assisted on. The Americans made 58.0% of its shots in the first half and behind Billups 4-of-6 3-point shooting, made 8-of-18 attempts from beyond the 3-point arc.
“I thought we came out very aggressive,” said the 33-year-old and USA co-captain Billups. “We knew if we weren’t aggressive, they could get going and make a long night for us and we can be beaten. We didn’t want that so we came out and stuck to a great game plan what we had. I thought it was a great game for us.”
For the night, the USA had 30 assists on 41 made baskets, and just five turnovers. Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls); and Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder) paced the U.S. with six assists each.
“Our point guards did a great job of finding opening shots for everybody. I think we drove the ball well and drove and kicked and guys made shots,” said Durant.
Outrebounding Angola 48 to 23, Lamar Odom (Los Angeles Lakers) led the U.S. on the glass with a game best eight boards, while Tyson Chandler (Dallas Mavericks) and Andre Iguodala (Philadelphia 76ers) pulled down seven each.
“It doesn’t matter who we play against. We just want to play the same way all the time no matter who we play and that’s with a lot of energy, lot of effort. We’re trying to become the best defensive team in the tournament. If we do that, we’ll give ourselves a chance to win,” said Odom, a 10-year NBA veteran.
Angola was led by 21 points from Joaquim Gomes.
Six of the eight quarterfinal teams are now know with Serbia and Spain advancing from Saturday’s eight-finals games, while host Turkey and Slovenia earned a trip to the quarterfinals with wins on Sunday. The final two quarterfinal spots will be determined Tuesday when Lithuania meets China (6 p.m. local time) and Argentina plays Brazil (9 p.m. local time).
The 2010 USA World Championship Team assistant coaches are Syracuse University’s Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim, Portland Trail Blazers head coach Nate McMillan and Toronto Raptors head mentor Jay Triano.
The 2010 FIBA (International Basketball Federation) World Championship for Men is being held Aug. 28-Sept. 12 in Ankara, Istanbul, Izmir and Kayseri, Turkey. Twenty-four teams are competing in the 2010 FIBA World Championship for Men.