Friday, August 3, 2012

Did Krzyzewski and USA run up score against Nigeria?

LONDON -- The U.S. has been cruising through round-robin play in men’s basketball, but the score from Thursday night against Nigeria raised eyebrows.

The U.S. won by an astonishing 156-73 margin – and that was in a 40-minute game. Team USA made 29 three-pointers and Carmelo Anthony scored 37 points in a little more than 14 minutes. After the game in his news conference, U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski was asked whether his squad had taken steps to avoid humiliating the Nigerian team.

Coach K got his back up on that one. I wasn’t at the game – I was covering swimming at the same time – but here’s the transcription of Coach K’s response, provided by USA basketball.

Said Coach K: “Obviously the first thing we did was not play LeBron and Kobe in the second half. The second thing was, even with Carmelo shooting like that [10-of-12 from three-point range], we benched him. We didn’t play [Kevin Durant]. We didn’t take any fast breaks in the fourth quarter, and we played all zone. You have to take a shot every 24 seconds, and the shots we took happened to be hit. I take offense to his question, because there’s no way in the world that our program in the United States is ever out to humiliate anyone.”

Nigeria’s team did have 10 players who had played college basketball in the U.S. But Nigeria camped out in the lane for much of the game, giving the U.S. wide-open three-pointers.

“We shot the ball better than any team in a game I have ever coached,” Krzyzewski said. “Our guys just couldn’t miss tonight. When you hit 29 threes, it’s very difficult to lose.”

I would say this: Krzyzewski’s explanation makes sense. When you’ve got a team with so much talent, it’s hard to keep them from scoring.

And when the other team plays defense by allowing open three-pointers, that makes it worse. I don’t think Krzyzewski would ever purposely run up the score against an overmatched team like Nigeria – what’s the fun in that?

The U.S. has two more games before advancing to the knockout round. Coach K gave the players Friday off from practice and a number of them are expected to watch the Olympic swim meet tonight, where they will see Cullen Jones compete in the men’s 50 freestyle final.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Silly argument made by the Observer to excite the UNCheat faithful.

The best collection of players in the world couldn't miss...what are you going to do?

Anonymous said...

Of course they didn't run up the score. They benched their best players. There is a shot clock and Team USA shot the ball before it expired on each possession. Whats the problem? What are they supposed to do?

Unknown said...

Wow, now people are looking to "lose" points to a lesser team, aren't they? Meanwhile,2 Chinese women's badminton double terms were expelled for doing the same stuff.

Anonymous said...

Scott, I attended a game in Raleigh where NC States freshman team (David Thompson, Tim Stoddard, Monte Towe) beat Isothermal Community Colege 157 - 72. This was before 3-point shots and dunking was not allowd.

Coach K is right - when the talent is mismatched this badly, it's hard to NOT have lopsided scoring. What else can you do, tell your players to miss?

Anonymous said...

OTOH, the Chinese, Koreans, and Indonesians get chastised for NOT trying to win at badminton.

So, try too hard to win, or don't try at all.

Either way, you're scrooed.

Shamash said...

If they can't compete, maybe the Nigerians should reconsider having a basketball team in the Olympics.

Anonymous said...

Could claim in NCAA play, maybe . . but in the Olympics? Nope, sorry. Maybe the Nigerians should be charged with running down the score by fielding such sorry competition.

Mike Curry said...

Dream Team is still the BEST team that has ever existed! Period. End of discussion. Best player that ever played the game. Jordan (UNC). Coach K better enjoy this, because his dook team this year will be behind UNC/NCSU/FSU/UM this upcoming season. Just sayin'

BH said...

Shamash, Nigeria had to qualify before reaching the Olympics. They are better than many other national squads

Matt M said...

The USA had a 48 point first quarter. Not much else to say.

J said...

The "running up the score" concept is nonsensical in every sport, on every level. If there is a gross disparity of talent, there will be a gross disparity in the margin of victory.

I particularly hate the "running up the score" argument in college football. One team gets a 49-0 lead and pulls all their starters. Then the backups score 3 or 4 more TDs and they are accused of "running up the score," being immoral, cruel, the cause of global warming, etc. So the backups aren't supposed to play hard? The backup QB and WRs aren't supposed to throw long passes just because the other team isn't good enough to stop them? Hogwash. Everyone should play hard whenever they're in the game. As long as the starters are pulled once the lead is insurmountable, whoever is in the game should be able to run the whole playbook.

The score is too lopsided against you? Stop the other team. If you can't stop them, go get better players. Don't be a crybaby becausse the other team beat you too badly.

Anonymous said...

The play yesterday was just one of a few times you'll ever see a team that just can't miss. The second half had lots of extra passes that ran down the shot clock, but because the Nigerians rotation was far fewer players, they just couldn't keep the perimeter defended. The open guy for the US, no matter who it was, was on fire from 3. It was a splendid thing to watch, and I don't think the Nigerians are going to complain. It was just an extraordinary performance.

Anonymous said...

When accused of running the score up (I think at the time UF Coach) Steve Spurrier said, "When we have the ball our job is to score and your job is to stop us. Don't ask us to do your job."

Play on.

Anonymous said...

Mike Curry lol...you're probably one of those UNCheat fans hoping Team USA loses.

Sad that no one affiliated with your scandal-ridden school is within 3000 miles of this team? Here's why...Larry Brown '04...Roy Williams '04...George Karl FIBA '02...no UNCheat NBA All-Stars in past 5 years...

Put the hate aside for one month and cheer Coach K and our country to the gold!

Anonymous said...

Didn't a badmiton team get kicked out for throwing a match? Now people are upset that one team is too good? What is the optimal score range that all games should finish within? Pete Rose would like to know.

Coach K did whats right in dialing it down without simply stopping play. Sometimes, one team is just that much better.

Anonymous said...

What do you want? The US team to be disqualified for not giving their best? You're just wanting to criticize. USA!!

Anonymous said...

Wow, I do believe that there is no compassion among athletes…or sports fans.

I guess all of you ran up the score when playing a game with your children.

Anonymous said...

Ridiculous this is even being discussed. What's K supposed to do? Bench everybody and start playing people off the street?

That being said, the three point shooting was crazy. They made 29 three pointers!!!!!???? That's 87 points from three point shooting- what some NBA teams might score in a game. Now, that's how you bust a zone defense.

John said...

Coach K has a team of NBA players. Not just guys who play in the NBA and maybe ride the bench, but a whole roster full of the best NBA starters. He sat his best players, but the rest of the team is still incredibly good. They shot lights out from 3 point range. I don't they this team is better than the original Dream Team, but they way they shot the basketball in that game, they would have beaten anybody. It is complete nonsense for anyone to suggest that they ran up the score. They would have scored 250 points if they were trying to run it up.

Anonymous said...

Stupid argument. We obviously have the best men basketball players in the world. Coach K did what he could to avoid point run-up but, short of intentionally turning the ball over to Nigeria on half of our possessions, we couldn't help but win big. Besides,even IF,where in the Olympiad rule book does it say we're NOT to compete at our best level? It is what it is - deal with it.