It was far from the spectacle that the 1992 Dream Team put on against Angola the first time these two teams faced each other but the U.S. men's basketball team still overpowered the top team in Africa with a 97-76 victory.
Despite being down 28, Angola (0-2) exploited some weaknesses in Team USA (2-0) by scoring 23 points while holding the Americans to 16.
Poor shooting bothered Team USA the entire game shooting a 55 percent field goal percentage and 24 percent from 3-point range. Although the problems offensively did not disrupt the Americans from imposing their will against Angola, this morning did not do anything to boost their confidence for the next two games against Greece on Thursday and Spain on Saturday.
Angola guard Armando Costa scored a game-high 24 points, a consequence of minimal defensive pressure from the Americans. Angola made the game a back-and-forth affair until Team USA went on a 7-2 run starting with 5:43 left in the first quarter.
A rebound from LeBron James led to an easy dunk by Carmelo Anthony to extend the lead to three.
Kobe Bryant struggled to find his shot the entire game scoring eight points on 4-for-13 shooting and missed all eight of his 3-pointers.
The American big men also had foul trouble for the entire game. Carlos Boozer and Dwight Howard each had three fouls despite playing for less than half the game.
Team USA did not gain a 20-point lead until the final minute of the first half when James got an open look from point guard Chris Paul and made a lay-up.
Angola fought back early in the second half cutting the lead to 14 until Bryant sparked another 8-0 run by Team USA, scoring six of the points himself in a little over a minute.
Even with all the problems, the Americans had several highlights as they were simply too much for Angola. Dwayne Wade led the way with 19 points as the sixth man.
Anthony scored 12 points in 21 minutes on 4-for-6 shooting while grabbing a team-high of six rebounds.
Tayshaun Prince came off the bench for 14 minutes with seven points while Deron Williams was a spark for most of the game on defense. Williams had four assists and two steals playing mostly as a second point guard on the floor with Paul.
The defense relied mostly on poor ball-handling by Angola (25 turnovers), which led to easy steals. James showed some great athleticism with three steals and a block to go along with 12 points.
With 1:39 left in the second, James turned a potential reverse lay-up into a left-handed dunk.
Howard added 14 points and didn’t miss a shot on six attempts while also creating havoc on the defensive end for Angola’s starting center, Eduardo Mingas. Howard had two blocks while holding Mingas to eight points on 4-for-13 shooting.
Team USA will have a day to practice before facing off against their latest rival, Greece. The last time the two teams played each other, Greece pulled away with a 101-95 victory in the semi-finals of the 2006 World Championships.
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