SAITAMA (FIBA World Championship) - Team USA cruised into the last eight of the FIBA World Championship with a 113-73 win over Australia.
Carmelo Anthony had a game-high 20 points and Joe Johnson came off the bench to score 12 of his 18 in the first half.
The United States, who bowed out in the quarter-finals of this tournament four years ago in Indianapolis, took charge in the second period when they held Australia without a field goal for more than seven minutes.
By half-time, they led 59-29 and the Boomers never recovered.
"We just picked up our energy in the second quarter," Johnson said.
"We haven’t really got off to good starts these past few games but we came out in the second period, picked up our defensive intensity and started making easy plays and getting easy baskets."
"We started very well and in the second quarter turned on the defensive pressure and that decided the game for us," Team USA forward Shane Battier said.
"This team really cares about basketball and playing the game the right way, with each other and not against each other. It's a really fun way to play."
Next up for the Americans is a quarter-final with Germany after Dirk Bauermann's team edged a 78-77 win over Nigeria in their last 16 clash.
The USA opened the game against Australia on a pair of three-pointers by Battier and Anthony but Australia matched them from long range with CJ Bruton and Brad Newley also hitting from the arc.
Brian Goorjian's men took their only lead at 15-14 on a three-ball by center Andrew Bogut, who finished with 20 points but the United States brought Dwyane Wade and Kirk Hinrich off the bench with three minutes left in the first period and the pair contributed immediately.
Hinrich hit a jumper and then Wade made two lay-ups but Newley added another three and a dunk as Australia trailed 27-23 after the first quarter.
The second quarter was the turning point as the USA tightened their interior defense.
Australia had to wait unti Bruton hit a jumper with 2:50 left to play in the first half to get their first basket of the second quarter, by which stage the lead had ballooned to 46-26.
After Chris Paul found Wade for a reverse dunk, Johnson would score seven straight points at the end off the second quarter, as Australia's deficit reached 30 at half-time.
Bogut re-established an inside presence for Australia early in the third quarter, making two free throws and a hook shot.
It wasn't enough to challenge Team USA, who hit the Boomers with a three-point barrage late in the third period for an 88-48 lead and there was no way back for the Australians.
"We just turned the ball over too much," Bogut said.
"They didn't really shut us down. They forced us into turning the ball over and we didn't really get any shots while they were able to run and get some dunks. If you play the USA like we did in that quarter, you're going to lose."
Bogut believes the Australians will benefit from their experience in Japan.
"It's definitely something to build upon for Beijing," he said.
"We have a young team, a lot of college kids playing against NBA guys. Hopefully we can get a core group out of this bunch of players for Beijing and move on."
As for Team USA coach Mike Kryzewski, he said: "This was a big win for us, because we have a lot of respect for the Australian team.
"We'll make adjustments to the base of defense that we have ahead of the Germany game. We'll study them to be as ready as possible.
"We hope to keep everyone healthy, with the morale high and then we might make some small adjustments."
By Simon Wilkinson, FIBA