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Dream Team-like USA crush Spain

©

Latest update : 2008-08-17

After their victory over Greece, the USA's basketball team ended world champion Spain's winning streak with a 37-point lead. The United States are now one win away from topping Group B.

America's NBA All Stars made easy work out of defeating Spain in a 119-82 victory as the reigning world champions suffered their first defeat Saturday in the Olympic basketball tournament.
  
This victory left the United States one win away from topping Group B, something they will achieve if they beat Germany next week.
  
The Americans used their signature blanket defense and a high powered offense to put the game away early in the second quarter, going up by 20 points with a balanced attack based on an array of fast break dunks and savvy outside shooting.
  
"I was really pleased with our effort," US coach Mike Krzyzewski said.
  
"I liked our defense, forcing the number of turnovers we did was the most satisfying for me."
  
Eight US players scored in double figures, led by reigning NBA scoring champion LeBron James with 18 points, followed by Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade with 16 each, Chris Paul with 14 and Kobe Bryant with 11.
  
"I was really proud of the way we came into the game focused, from the beginning to the end and on both ends of the court," Denver Nugget Anthony said.
  
"The guys really came out focused especially in the way we shot the ball. I think we are getting better and better."
  
Spain was led by Fernando Reyes with 19 points, while Bryant's Los Angeles Laker team-mate Pau Gasol added 13 points for the losers.
  
Renamed the "Redeem team," the current group of American players are seeking to make amends for a disappointing bronze medal at the Athens Games four years ago and poor showings at the 2002 and 2006 world championships.
  
So far Team USA has not been put under pressure at the Beijing Olympics.
  
But if the form from recent international tournaments holds good, a rival could yet beat this group of highly paid athletes, possibly in the knockout round which starts on Wednesday.
  
Although the offense of Team USA was sloppy at times, as the game wore on, its athleticism and quickness on defense was too much for the Spaniards.
  
That was reflected in the Americans forcing 28 turnovers and grabbing 16 steals.
  
"Obviously it wasn't a good game for us. I don't feel happy at all about how we played tonight," a disappointed Gasol said.
  
"They played with a lot more intensity and we weren't able to keep up with that intensity. Twenty-eight turnovers is a staggering number, you can't win with that."
  
Spain were just about in touch at the end of the first quarter, with the US 31-22 ahead following nine points by James and another eight from Anthony.
  
But, following a run of nine unanswered points at the start of the second quarter, the Americans opened up a 20 point lead before ending the half comfortably ahead at 61-45.
  
Team USA sits at the top of Group B with four wins and no defeats, while Spain dropped to three wins and one defeat.
 

Date created : 2008-08-16

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