Full time: Team USA got a nice workout today, shaking off the rust early before coasting to a 97-76 victory over nine-time African champion Angola. But whether they'd be able to afford such an uneven opening on Thursday against Greece is something Mike Krzyzewski would much rather not find out. On the positive side: Today was a complete team effort, with 11 of Team USA's 12 players getting into the scorebook (with only Jason Kidd not logging points). Game ball goes to Dwyane Wade, who paced four U.S. players in double figures, scoring 19 points on 6-for-8 shooting. But it was Dwight Howard who softened up the Angolans with body blows early, finishing with 14 points on a perfect 6-for-6 clip. Check back Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. ET for another live blog as the U.S. looks to exorcise their demons against Greece -- the unheralded group which upset the Americans in the semifinals of the 2006 FIBA World Championship in Japan.
0:40.3, 4th: Angola continues to add cosmetic buckets to their total ... but the scores aren't completely without meaning. Overall point differential is a tie-breaker for teams at the conclusion of group play, so there's a chance every basket could count.
3:34, 4th: The United States goes back up by 30 points as Eduardo Mingas is whistled for goaltending on a Tayshaun Prince shot attempt. Team USA is closing in on the century mark for the second straight game -- no small accomplishment given the 40-minute regulation time under FIBA rules.
6:16, 4th: As the U.S. gets playful with an 87-59 lead -- with Kobe Bryant's behind-the-back pass careening out of bounds -- Doug Collins brings up perhaps the lone alarming statistic from America's consecutive Olympic-opening blowouts: the haphazard outside shooting. Enjoying success against truly elite international opponents like Spain, Argentina and Greece will depend upon Team USA's ability to knock down the jumper. Higher quality opponents with deeper benches will be able to play 2-3 zone defenses and force the U.S. to live or die by the jumper. Will the U.S. be ready for the challenge?
8:55, 4th: Chris Bosh flushes home a dunk for his seventh and eighth points off a pretty long-range feed from Chris Paul. The American lead has ballooned to 30 points with just under nine minutes remaining.
End, 3rd: Just 10 minutes separate the U.S. team from a 2-0 start to this Olympic tournament. Dwayne Wade leads all scorers with 19 points on 6-fot-7 from the floor.
56.6, 3rd: The U.S. isolates Chris Bosh in the post out of a half-court set. Bosh pivots, pivots again and tosses up a wild shot which misses the rim completely. Chris Paul, charging the lane and realizing the urgency with the shot-clock winding down, rushes toward the ball and lofts a teardrop jumper in one swift motion. The ball falls through to make it 79-51.
2:00, 3rd: The Angolans continue to work hard on offense, hustling to create open shots and appearing determined to keep the margin respectable.
3:14, 3rd: The U.S. is actually getting beaten on the boards by a 26-22 margin. But when you're shooting 29-for-48 from the floor as a team -- or better than 60 percent -- a little rebounding concession isn't exactly a deal-breaker.
3:28, 3rd: Deron Williams cans a three-pointer to open a 72-48 lead. Game, set, match?
4:14, 3rd: Every time Angola puts together a modest run, the U.S. has been quick to extinguish the momentum with an emphatic offensive play. This time, it was Dwyane Wade, whose ferocious slam dunk out of the half-court set makes it 67-48.
7:07, 3rd: Kobe Bryant gets into the scorebook with a quick bucket. On the ensuing possession, the Angolans cough it up and the ball is punched upcourt to Kobe, who deposits a 360-degree jam to ignite the Chinese crowd. So much for the Angolans holding Kobe scoreless.
8:30, 3rd: Let's not go overboard here -- because the U.S. is winning by 16 points -- but some of these shooting numbers may concern the Redeem Team fatalists. Kobe Bryant is 0-for-6 on the day, mostly on outside jumpers. Perhaps even more alarming, LeBron just missed a pair of foul shots to drop the U.S. to 9-for-17 from the line today.
9:20, 3rd: Eduardo Mingas opens the scoring in the second half with a 14-foot baseline jumper.
10:00, 3rd: It's Kidd, Wade, Kobe, Melo and Howard for the U.S., and Carlos Morais, Armando Costa, Eduardo Mingas, Leonel Paulo and Joaquim Gomes for the Angolans.
Halftime: The United States closes the half on a 16-5 run -- highlighted by nine points from LeBron James -- to stake a 55-37 advantage at the break. Dwight Howard and LeBron James have dominated the Angolans, combining for 23 points on 10-for-10 shooting from the floor. Wade extends his perfect clip from the field -- he hasn't missed a shot from the field in Beijing -- with 11 points on 3-for-3 shooting. For the Angolans, Carlos Morais has carried the load with a team-high 13 points, but he's gotten very little from his teammates through 20 minutes. Look for the U.S. to deliver the knockout blow during the third quarter.
1:14, 2nd: Wade, running the point, gets a little flashy at the top of the key and tries to shake his defender. He ends up drawing a foul while attempting a three-pointer, making two of the three shots to extend the U.S. lead to 53-34. Things getting a little dicey for the Angolans approaching halftime.
2:26, 2nd: Just like that, Dwyane Wade nails a three-pointer -- and LeBron James follows up with a pair of quick baskets -- to rip off a 7-0 run and re-open a double-digit advantage. On the few occasions the U.S. has needed a bucket since this team has come together, Wade has been the guy to go out and get it for them.
3:59, 2nd: Don't look now, but Carlos Morais sinks three free throws -- after getting fouled while attempting a shot from beyond the arc -- to extend an 8-0 run for the Angolans. The spurt pulls the underdogs within 39-32.
4:58, 2nd: LeBron James emphatically blocks a Fellzardo Ambrosio shot out of bounds. Doug Collins says some think you should attempt to keep the ball in bounds under any circumstances, but sometimes it's important to send a message by knocking the ball as hard as you can out of bounds. But it's worth mentioning the Angolans get points out of the possession -- on an Armando Costa lay-up -- to pull within 39-29.
5:27, 2nd: Another three pointer from Carlos Morais -- his second in the last minute -- to close the marging to 39-27.
6:48, 2nd: Howard scores again. He's 5-for-5 on the day, creating enough space to score almost unmolested. Nobody on Angola can stop him.
7:28, 2nd: A horrible turnover finds its way into Michael Redd's hands, who runs an impromptu fast break and feeds to Dwight Howard for his third dunk of the game.
8:58, 2nd: Carmelo Anthony counters with a three-pointer off a Deron Williams assist. When the United States is making their three-pointers, they're almost impossible to beat.
9:04, 2nd: Carlos Almeida drains an NBA-length trey from the top of the key to keep the African champs within striking distance. The U.S. remains in complete control of the contest despite holding just a nine-point lead.
9:22, 2nd: Howard splits a pair of free throws to open a 30-18 lead.
10:00, 2nd: It's Kidd, Williams, Wade, Anthony and Howard to start the second quarter for the Americans.
End, 1st: The United States has made 11-of-17 shots --a red-hot 64.7 percent clip -- to stake an 11-point lead through 10 minutes.
0:07.3, 1st: Bosh makes a pair of fouls to open the U.S. lead to 29-18.
0:40.0, 1st: Wade brings the ball up the court, gets stuck in the lane, and finds Prince in the corner but he misses. Angola with the ball looking to get back within single digits.
1:52, 1st: After Carlos Almieda hits a three-pointer to close the deficit to 21-16, Tayshaun Prince counters with a trey, a steal near midcourt and a breakaway dunk within a seven-second span to open the margin to double digits for the first time today.
3:29, 1st: Chris Paul, Chris Bosh, Tayshaun Prince and Deron Williams into the game for the U.S. Will Angola be able to handle the second wave of U.S. players?
4:09, 1st: Dwyane Wade continues his perfect shooting run in Beijing, canning a three-pointer from the top of the key to open the largest lead of the game for the U.S. at 17-11. Good ball movement to set up the shot.
5:00, 1st: Dwight Howard is devouring Gomes on the interior, scoring three buckets -- including a pair of dunks -- in the last two-and-a-half minutes. Gomes, who played in a pair of NCAA Tournaments during a four-year career at Valparaiso University, will have his hands full with the former No. 1 overall pick today.
6:38, 1st: Eduardo Mingis drives the lane, pump fakes to leave Dwight Howard hanging mid-air and bravely deposits a lay-in to give Angola a 9-8 lead.
7:31, 1st: Kobe Bryant missed a three-pointer from the elbow but Dwight Howard sucks in the offensive rebound and easily flushes it home to put the United States ahead 8-7. Angola, wearing white, looking plucky early.
8:42, 1st: Bad sign for Angola with Joaquim Gomes picking up his second foul of the game. The post man Gomes is one of Angola's prime offensive options and an important space-filler on the defensive end.
9:20, 1st: Carlos Morais bangs a three-pointer for Angola to open a 5-2 lead. It looks like Angola is going to try and run with the Americans. Perhaps not the most sound strategy.
9:30, 1st: ...and LeBron James ties the score seven seconds later with a slash into the lane.
9:42, 1st: Angola getting on the board early with the first points of the game...
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This ain't your big brother's Angola, the hapless group the Original Dream Team famously lambasted in a 116-48 rout on their way to Olympic gold in Barcelona. The south-central African country has improved considerably in the 16 years since the '92 Games, winning nine of the last 10 FIBA Africa championships while ascending to the fringe of the top 10 in the FIBA world rankings. But they've still got a long way to go before joining the international elite -- and the U.S. team looks to ensure Angola doesn't get the signature victory they need today in their second game of group play
Mostly because of their famous 1992 meeting, these two countries are inexplicably linked in the international hoop consciousness. (When asked his thoughts about upcoming opponent Angola back in '92, Charles Barkley famously semi-quipped: "All I know about Angola is, they in trouble.") But they've actually met two other times in the Olympics, with the U.S. winning 87-54 in 1996 and 89-53 in 2004.