Posted Sep 6 2010 1:09PM
ISTANBUL (AP) -- Chauncey Billups scored 19 points, Kevin Durant had 17, and the United States powered into the quarterfinals of the World Championship with a 121-66 victory over Angola on Monday.
With Durant scoring 17 and Billups 16 in the first half, the Americans saved their most impressive performance in Istanbul for the knockout round, overwhelming the Angolans from the start after a couple of lackluster performances to close the group stage.
The U.S. forced turnovers that led to easy baskets in transition, and when forced into the halfcourt, shot 18 of 38 from 3-point range, one off the team record for 3s in a world championship game.
Eric Gordon and Rudy Gay also scored 17 for the Americans, who will face either Russia or New Zealand on Thursday night. Gordon was 5 of 6 behind the arc.
Joaquim Gomes, who played collegiately at Valparaiso, scored 21 for Angola, which finished fourth in Group A. The Angolans advanced to the elimination round on a tiebreaker by virtue of their overtime victory over Germany, but had lost by 50 to Serbia, and 21 apiece to Argentina and Australia.
They were no match for the Americans, who had won the teams' four meetings in the Olympics, starting with a 116-48 romp in the Dream Team's debut in Barcelona in 1992, straight through to a 97-76 victory in Beijing two years ago.
This quickly became one of those no-contests.
The Americans lacked some focus against Iran and Tunisia in their last two games, knowing victory was certain and not wanting to embarrass opponents or get any of their own players hurt.
But they expected to be sharper after a couple of days of practice, knowing they would press, substitute frequently, and raise their overall level of play with the games finally becoming important.
The U.S. won the opening tip for the first time in Istanbul and scored the first five points. Billups and Durant nailed consecutive 3-pointers to cap a 10-0 spurt and make it 22-7, and the Americans led 33-13 after one.
Billups is playing out of his normal NBA position as a shooting guard, and he made only 4 of 19 3-point attempts in preliminary play. U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski was asked last week if he would consider a lineup change, and he said he would look at it.
The lineup stayed the same, but Billups looked much different.
The lead ballooned to 29 late in the second quarter. Durant shot 7 of 10 in the half and Billups was 4 of 6, all from behind the arc, and Durant's 3-pointer with 7 seconds left sent the Americans to the half with a 65-33 advantage.
Derrick Rose made two straight 3-pointers and Billups added another to start the U.S. scoring in the third quarter, and the lead grew to 37 late in the period. The Americans were 6 of 9 behind the arc in the period, which ended with them leading 91-56.
Felizardo Ambrosio finished with 12 points and Roberto Fortes 11 for Angola.
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