OLYMPICS INSIDER: No wilting by Angola in defeat
by Washington Times
After the cheers for LeBron James' dunks, oooohs for Chris Paul's passing and screeching for Mr. China - Kobe Bryant - the Chinese basketball fans Tuesday night did the right thing while the Redeem Team was moving to 2-0.
They acknowledged Angola.
"An-gol-a ... An-gol-a ... An-gol-a" they chanted late in the Americans' 97-76 victory over the longtime African powerhouse.
The compliments were deserved.
The team played hard. When the score got out of hand, they kept playing. They didn't seem intimidated. They forced several U.S. errors.
"They have our respect," Paul said.
While the Americans' goal was to win and improve their quality of play (more on that in a second), Angola's goals were less ambitious.
"We didn't expect to win," guard Carlos Morais said. "But we wanted the game to be more balanced."
After losing its three previous Olympic games to the United States by 68, 33 and 36 points, Angola can proclaim it is improving. It won't win a medal here. It might not even win a game. But when the players and coaches travel home after the games, they at least can say LeBron, Kobe, etc., had to sweat for the win.
Angola's last lead was 11-9. What it couldn't prevent was a run by the United States. Down 39-32, Angola allowed the United States to finish the first half on a 12-0 run. Five straight points early in the third quarter cut the U.S. lead to 55-41. But Bryant took over, spearheading an 8-0 run.