USA 156, Nigeria 73: Carmelo Anthony Proves Why He's Team USA's Key to Gold

Manav Khandelwal@@KhandymanSportsAnalyst IIAugust 3, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 02:  Anthony Davis #14 of United States and teammate Carmelo Anthony #15 celebrate during the second half against Nigeria in the Men's Basketball Preliminary Round match on Day 6 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Basketball Arena on August 2, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Calling this "just another day at work for Team USA" would be an injustice to the squad's excellence.

This was just another extraordinary day at work for the Americans, who dismantled Nigeria in record-breaking fashion, 156-73. It was an amazing feat from a team that can only be described as "amazing".

At the center of everything was New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, who wowed the world once again at the Olympics, as he paved the way for Team USA's 83-point rout with a 37-point masterpiece.

The sad thing for Nigeria? Anthony scored all those points in only 14 minutes of game action.

That's not a typo: 'Melo scored over two and a half points per minute, going 10-of-12 (83 percent) from beyond the arc and 13-of-16 (81.3 percent) from the field overall. He set the record for the most points and three-pointers in a game by an American player, ever, in the Olympics.

His efficiency was off the charts, and he showed once again that the shorter international three-point line suits his abilities well.

Another thing he put on display is his importance to Team USA going forward. People like to talk about Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and LeBron James, but the best pure scorer on this team at the moment is Anthony.

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He has shown his three-point prowess early and often in this tournament, providing a spark off the bench that helps the Americans bury their opponents early in games.

Coach K and his team haven't really faced much resistance early on in the preliminary round, facing two lowly African teams and a French team that was playing at a low level. Sure, this rout is impressive, but it's not as if this team will blow countries like Argentina and Spain out of the water.

When the medal rounds start and the competition starts to heat up, every point will count. When that happens, Team USA won't be able to rely on athleticism and talent alone; they'll need a role player like Anthony to step up and hit big shots if they want to win gold.

He demonstrated this against Nigeria, telling the entire world that he'll be there when it matters most.

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