Work in Sports
US dream team humiliates Japan 105-49 in Olympic preparation match
YONO, Japan, Sept 6 (AFP) - US National Basketball Association stars stole the show in their preparation match for the Sydney Olympics by humiliating Japan 105-49 in the Dream Games friendly series on Wednesday.
"Before the game, I told our guys about keeping our standard high. I really didn't have to do that," said US head coach Rudy Tomjanovich.
"Because as you heard Jason Kidd said yesterday about how much pride this team has and they want to be known as the best Olympic team ever. I think it's a great goal."
It was a battle between adults and children as the Americans chalked up a lopsided 7-0 lead by picking up all the rebounds and never allowing the Japanese to have a chance.
Vince Carter's foul play gave Kazuhiro Shoji to score their first points on a free throwing two minutes 34 seconds into the match, and they had to wait another three minutes for their first shooting goal through Hidekazu Ishizaka at 6-15.
But 21,080 spectators were excited by super acrobatic plays by the most exciting NBA player Vince Carter, Gary Payton, and Ray Allen's last-second long shot to end the first half at 58-23.
Seattle Super Sonics star Vin Baker showed another unbelievable goal 4:23 into the second half, and Carter showed another spectacular shot for 99-46 1:49 before the final buzzar.
In the end, Carter scored 20 points, Baker 17 points, Shareef Abdur-Rahim and Allen 12 points each, Payton 10 points and Steve Smith 11 points.
"Japan really played hard. I think they are very well coached, they are courageous, they took the ball to the basket strong and I think they have nothing to be ashamed of," said Tomjanovich.
The United States, top favourites to win a third straight gold medal in the Sydney Olympic Games, ended the three-nation friendly series with two straight wins, ahead of Spain 1-1 and Japan 0-2.
The Americans will play another friendly game against Olympic hosts Australia in Melbourne on Saturday before opening their campaign against China, Lithuania, New Zealand, France and Italy in the preliminary Group A.
Spain will play Russia, Angola, Canada, Australia and Yugoslavia in Group B. Japan failed to qualify after finishing at a disappointing fifth at the Asian championships a year ago on their home ground.