Dream Team II is averaging three points per minute, which is entirely appropriate the way it was hitting 3-pointers against Australia.
After being criticized for missing 13 of 16 3-pointers against Brazil on Sunday, the Americans greased their shooting arms Tuesday night, making 14 of 22 3-pointers in a 130-74 rout at the World Championship of Basketball."It shows our versatility," coach Don Nelson said. "We can go big or small and be devastating."
The spectacular outside shooting display was part of Dream Team II's 71 percent shooting overall, pushing its four-game average to 62 percent. The Americans are 1-0 in the three-game quarterfinal round-robin.
The U.S. team is averaging 120.5 points in the 40-minute games, which are eight minutes shorter than a regulation NBA game. In a 48-minute game, the Americans are scoring at a 144-point pace.
Reggie Miller scored 23 of his 31 points in the first 11 minutes of the second half. It was a performance that reminded him of his 25-point fourth quarter in the playoffs against New York this year, when heckling from Knicks fan Spike Lee inspired Miller.
"I might have had a Spike Lee flashback," Miller said. "The day off (Monday) helped. Our legs got heavy against Brazil. I know my legs were heavy. We rested and got away from basketball for a little bit."
Miller and Mark Price both took six 3-pointers, and each made five of them.
Price finished with 17 points and made six of seven shots overall, while Dan Majerle scored 14 points and Dominique Wilkins 13 on 5-for-5 shooting. All 12 members of Dream Team II are now shooting better than 50 percent from the field, and they have surpassed Dream Team I's 117.3 average in the 1992 Olympics.
Andrew Gaze scored 23 points and Mark Bradtke 16 for Australia, which finished second behind Croatia in its preliminary pool.
Shaquille O'Neal, who went into the game leading the team with a 20.3 average, did not play in the second half and finished with six points in 11 minutes. He has been bothered by a stiff back.
Next up for the United States, which beat China by 55 points earlier in the tournament, is Puerto Rico, a 101-85 loser to Russia on Tuesday, as the quarterfinals continue tonight. The Americans face Russia on Friday, followed by the semifinals on Saturday and the gold-medal game Sunday.