Angola keeps score, elbows down in 87-54 loss to U.S. 68-point losers in '92 show growth vs. Dream Team

Atlanta Olympics

July 23, 1996|By Don Markus | Don Markus,SUN STAFF

ATLANTA -- Much was made four years ago about the elbow Charles Barkley threw at Herlander Coimbra of Angola during a 68-point rout for the original Dream Team in Barcelona, Spain. Little was made of the blowout, mainly because both teams expected it.

Their Olympic rematch passed without incident last night at the Georgia Dome. What will be remembered is not only how quiet the Phoenix Suns forward seemed during an 87-54 victory for this year's Dream Team, but also how well the Angolans played during the first half.

Despite suffering its second straight loss, this team with no player over 6 feet 6 played nearly as tough as Argentina did in the Dream Team's opening game Saturday night. Angola trailed by only a point midway through the first half, was down only 13 at halftime and didn't let things get too far out of hand in the second.

"They came into our locker room after the game and congratulated us," said Angolan coach Vladmiro Romero.

Romero, who was fairly critical of Barkley before the game, said he was pleased to see no extracurricular elbows this time around.

"Tonight Charles Barkley was a complete gentleman," said Romero. "Maybe today he was able to correct everything he did incorrectly four years ago."

Asked if he said anything to Barkley before the game, U.S. coach Lenny Wilkens said, "Not really. What happened four years ago is over."

Despite not having its best player, center Jean-Jacques Conceicao, who remains mysteriously absent from the team, Angola played a more respectable game than in the 116-48 defeat in 1992.

Someone else asked Romero if he and his players have any fantasies of beating the Americans in the distant future? "That would be an illusion," said Romero.

Pub Date: 7/23/96

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