Scoring 37 points against an enormous underdog in pool play of the Olympics is not necessarily an incredible achievement. Dropping 37 in 14 minutes on 10-of-12 shooting from the 3-point line is downright remarkable.
Carmelo Anthony’s 37 points spearheaded a record breaking 156-73 destruction by Team USA over Nigeria on Thursday evening. Not since Stephon Marbury’s six long bombs in 2004 has a player from the States registered such a prolific performance from downtown. Anthony surpassed the U.S. Olympic mark for points in a game after three quarters of action in the next step towards a 2012 Gold Medal.
"We understand the history of the game and what takes place and the records and things like that," Anthony reacted on usabasketball.com. "We did talk about it. It’s an accomplishment. Any chance you get to achieve a milestone or reach an accomplishment, you want to do it, and tonight was one of those nights."
As a team, USA set the high mark for most points in a game and a half with 78 at the break. Additionally, Team USA surpassed the record for 3-pointers (26), field goals (59), and field goal percentage by connecting on 71 percent of its attempts.
"Tonight was just one of those nights where as a unit, we had it going. It could have been anybody out there on the court playing against us. When we shoot like that, shoot that well, the percentages that we shot out there tonight – it was just incredible," Anthony said.
The jaw dropping offensive performance by Anthony and Team USA wowed the crowd in London on a day that featured a buzzer-beater by Russia and Spain escaping an upset against Great Britain. The Americans improved to 3-0 with Anthony as its leading scorer off the bench. Anthony is averaging 20.7 points per game and a scorching 75 percent behind the arc.
"We play by ourselves," Anthony explained. "When we’re out there on the basketball court, we’re not thinking about what the 1992 Dream Team did or anything like that. We respect those guys and we understand what those guys did. We understand the standards that those guys set. But we’re playing for ourselves right now, for our country, for this moment."
Team USA will face a stiffer test on Saturday with a matchup against Lithuania at 9:30 AM EDT. However, Monday’s USA-Argentina showdown will garner significant attention to conclude pool play before the Quarterfinals next week.