U.S.A.-Angola: First-Half Impressions

If a college team ever played a team full of NBA all-stars I would imagine that it would look similar to this U.S.A.-Angola contest. It was clear from the outset that the Americans planned to use this game as an opportunity to get every player on the roster some minutes. As Coach K fiddled with the lineup though, shuffling players in and out, a funny thing happened ... the Angolans kept hanging around.

About midway through the second quarter, Angola had actually cut the U.S. lead to seven, by firing three-pointers like they were going out of style, and out-hustling the Americans for the better part of the first half. As Doug Collins pointed out on the NBC broadcast, it looked as if the U.S.A. was actually playing down to its competition.

Enter Lebron James, who throughout these first two games has played with a defensive intensity that most other players on the floor have yet to match. Led by James, the Americans seemed to wake up, and realize finally who they were playing with. The U.S. went on a run to close the half making the score 55-37 at the end of the second quarter.

Unless Angola can produce a miracle in the second half, the Americans are going to win this game. However, Coach K and company can't be thrilled with what they've seen. Until James provided that spark at the end of the half, the Americans looked like they were just going through the motions. It was like they still had a hangover from the China game on Sunday night, figuring they could just walk on the floor and roll past Angola.

As halftime comes to a close here, look for the U.S. to come out firing on all cylinders to open up the third quarter.

Photo via Getty Images

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