Carmelo Anthony photo by Kirby Lee USA Today
LONDON - Carmelo Anthony entered the U.S. men's Olympic basketball game against Nigeria Thursday with 3:54 left in the first quarter.
He made his first shot, a three-pointer 20 seconds later, and made his second shot, another three-pointer with 2:08 left in the first quarter.
Anthony kept shooting, and he kept scoring. No surprise on either account.
By the time the USA completed its 156-73 demolition of Nigeria, Anthony had scored 37 points and he and the team had broken U.S. Olympic scoring and three-point records. Anthony made 10 of 12 three-pointers, setting U.S. Olympic records for three-pointers made and attempted.
"It's hard to explain if you've never done it," Anthony said of the shooting zone he found himself in. "Tonight was just one of these nights where as a unit we had it going. The way we shot the ball was just incredible."
The 156 points set an Olympic record, eclipsing the 138 Brazil scored against Egypt in 1988.
It was an efficient performance for Anthony. He scored 19 points in nine minutes, 17 seconds in the first half and 20 points in five minutes, 12 seconds in the third quarter - 37 points in 14:29, impressive even by Anthony's scoring prowess.
It was well short of Brazilian great Oscar Schmidt's Olympic-record 55 points against Spain in 1988.
"The support system that we have just from my teammates, you can't explain that, the way they were telling me to shoot the ball ," Anthony said.
Anthony is the team's leading scorer at 20.7 points a game and has been the best offensive player for the USA through three games. In his last two games, he is shooting 19-for-22 (84.6%) from the field, including 12 of 14 (85.7%) on three-pointers.
The USA set team records for three-pointers made (29) and attempted (46). The Americans made 11 of 14 threes and scored 49 points in the first quarter, a 10-minute quarter, too.
"Obviously, we shot better than any team in a game that I've ever coached," U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "Our guys couldn't miss tonight. They shared the ball. When you hit 29 threes, it's very difficult to lose in a game like that. Just an incredible shooting performance. That's not going to happen very often."
Said Kobe Bryant, who had 16 points: "When you have guys individually on their respective teams get hot, it's a big problem. When you have all of us on one team and we all get hot on the same night, it's tough."
The USA also tied its Olympics assists record with 41.
The USA improved to 3-0 and stayed atop the Group A standings, ahead of France and Argentina who each have one loss. It plays Lithuania on Saturday and Argentina on Monday in its final two group games.
By Jeff Zillgitt, USA Today