U.S. men rout Angola in basketball, Greece up next

August 12, 2008

BEIJING (AP) -- LeBron James and his teammates easily shoved Angola aside. Now come the teams that can push back.

Dwyane Wade scored 19 points, James dominated the game with his size and strength on both ends, and the U.S. Olympic team wrapped up the easy portion of its schedule with a 97-76 victory Tuesday night.

Dwight Howard added 14 points and James finished with 12 for the Americans, who had another rough night from 3-point range but don't appear to be stoppable in the open court. Wade was perfect from the field in Beijing until missing in the third quarter.

The United States improved to 4-0 against Angola, starting with the Dream Team's Olympic debut in 1992. That romp is best remembered for Charles Barkley's elbow to an unsuspecting Angolan player in a 116-48 victory.


Angola went down almost as easily this time.

The Americans (2-0) moved on to face Greece, the team that stunned them two years ago in the semifinals of the world championship. Two days later comes a matchup with Spain, the team that won that tournament and is also 2-0 in this one after rallying to beat China in overtime behind 29 points from Pau Gasol.

Long before this rout started, the Americans were already looking ahead.

U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski and his staff were seated behind the baseline about 5 1/2 hours earlier for a look at the Greeks, who shut down Germany over the final three quarters while pulling away for an 87-64 victory.

Greece stunned the United States 101-95 two years ago in the semifinals of the world championship in Japan. This U.S. team is much deeper, and James is a whole lot stronger.

James hadn't done much offensively midway through the second quarter when he made his presence felt on the other end, jumping so high to block Felizardo Ambrosio's shot that it looked more like a volleyball spike, with James glaring back at the fallen Ambrosio as the ball went out of bounds.

The Angolans were down only seven with less than 4 minutes remaining in the half when James simply muscled them out of the way. After Wade's 3-pointer, James went all the way for a layup, then knocked Leonel Paulo backward to grab a loose ball and convert a three-point play that made it 47-32 with 2:26 left.

James then came up with a steal and flipped the ball behind him to Chris Bosh for a bucket, then capped a 16-2 spurt with another layup that extended the U.S. lead to 55-34. The Americans were up 55-37 at the break, with James, Howard, Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Bosh all perfect from the field.

The U.S. shooting would have been much better if not for Bryant's 0-for-5 half, but he quickly got involved in the third quarter with eight points, highlighted by a spinning dunk on the fast break.

The Americans lost some concentration on the defensive end, allowing Angola enough open looks to keep it from becoming too much of a blowout for a while. Eventually they pulled away to win almost as easily as they did in a 101-70 victory over China on opening night.

Anthony also scored 12 points for the United States. Every U.S. player but Jason Kidd scored, but the Americans were only 5-of-21 from behind the arc after they hit just 7-of-24 against the Chinese.

Carlos Morais scored 24 points for Angola (0-2).

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