LONDON 2012: Great Britain receive lesson from USA's superstars in warm-up
DEFENDING Olympic champions the USA produced a basketball masterclass racking up more than 100 points in a salutary lesson for Great Britain in their final Olympic warm-up.
OUTCLASSED: Olympic champions USA were just far too strong for Great Britain, who are about to play their first Olympic basketball tournament since 1948
Despite talisman Luol Deng being in fine form, with able support from Pops Mensah-Bonsu, Team GB - without injured Eric Boateng - lost 118-78 to their vastly experienced opponents.
NBA superstars Kobe Bryant, from LA Lakers, and Miami Heat's LeBron James led the charge against a spirited British side, but Deron Williams stole the show with a hot third quarter scoring streak, including five three-pointers
It was tight in the first quarter as each time USA got away, Great Britain kept pegging the visitors back, with Mensah-Bonsu helping himself to five points.
But the USA always looked in control - with Bryant and James at the centre of all the action - and headed into the first time-out of the quarter 13-10 ahead.
Chicago Bulls star Deng got his first points of the night with a strong drive to the basket and quickly followed with a superb three-pointer from the corner.
The visitors showed they were not slow starters as Russell Westbrook slammed home after superb defensive work from Carmelo Anthony set up the fast break.
But Great Britain continued to hold onto USA's coattails, as Mensah-Bonsu and Kyle Johnson kept up the pressure with free throw efforts.
But an ‘alleyoop' from Westbrook - a flying slam-dunk - and two shots from outside the arc by Anthony gave USA a 33-20 lead at the end of the first quarter.
It was more of the same in the second quarter as Great Britain kept the scoreboard ticking over as Deng went three for three from the free throw line.
Chris Finch's men kept the USA within their sights, keeping the lead to just ten points halfway through the second period.
However, the visitors always looked like they could step up a gear and Miami Heat superstar James executing a fine move and headed into the half time break 55-37 up.
Deng and new NBA man Joel Freeland scored Great Britain's first points of the third quarter as Team GB passed 40 points.
But the Americans were equally strong out of the blocks, with Williams scoring eleven points, including three from outside the arc.
Finch's team sparked USA into showing their class with James showing the capacity crowd why he was voted most valuable player in last season's NBA with some exhibition slams.
Further scores from Anthony, who plays for the New York Knicks, and Westbrook stretched the visitor's lead to 34 points leading into the first time-out of the third quarter.
Anthony Price, who recently joined the New Orleans Hornets as first draft pick, showed why he is so highly rated with two superb slam dunks.
USA passed the 100-point mark midway through the fourth quarter as James Harden scored with a three-pointer as Mike Krzyzewski's men continued to attack.
The visitors began to play to the delighted crowd, producing tricks such as reverse slam dunks and quick breaks as they finished 22 points ahead of their tired opponents.
But for Scottish veteran Robert Archibald, who has said that the Olympics will be his last tournament before international retirement, playing Team USA was a fantastic experience.
“It was a great experience, a lot of fun especially being on the court with those guys," he said.
"We picked up some things, the score wasn’t what we wanted at the end but it was great to play this team ahead of the Olympics."
© Sportsbeat 2012