Led by Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Kevin Durant, Team USA glided their way to a 98-71 victory over Tony Parker and France.
In the first quarter, France kept the game as close as they could by trailing by just 1 point at the end of the first quarter. USA basically wasn’t able to make a single three-pointer the entire first period which in the end resulted them to having a tight game with France. However, when the second quarter turned the corner, it was donzo (done).
Team USA started playing tighter defense on France and forced them to make turnovers which in turn allowed Team USA to go out and run. USA would go on to outscore France 30-15 in the second quarter and the tide started to shift heavily towards Team USA. The 3rd quarter wasn’t much different despite allowing France to reevaluate their poor second quarter performance in the locker room. Team USA went on to hold France to just 15 points once again and outscore them by 11 points. With that, the game was simply out of reach and Team USA has something to add to their win column.
France’s big man Ali Treore led the way for the French with 12 points who didn’t necessarily have one primary scorer on their team as everyone got a little piece of the pie. San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker chipped in with 10 points but just 1 assist and his NBA teammate, Boris Diaw, had 9 points. Now with the Los Angeles Clippers, Ronny Turiaf had 7 points and pulled down 9 rebounds. Portland Trail Blazers forward Nicolas Batum, who was highly desired by the Minnesota Timberwolves, had 7 points in the loss.
Team USA decided not to change the lineup they have been using in the past games. Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, and Tyson Chandler rounded out the starting five for the Americans. Durant would go on to lead the charge for USA with his game-high 22 points which includes 3 three pointers. LeBron James had an all around game putting in 9 points, 8 assists, and 5 rebounds while Kobe Bryant had 10 points. Chris Paul wasn’t as effective as he normally would be as he chipped in with 5 points and 2 assists. Off the bench, Carmelo Anthony had 9 points and Durant’s NBA sidekick, Russell Westbrook had 9 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists. Among all of those, the two biggest players talked about heading into the real Olympic games were Tyson Chandler and Kevin Love.
Fortunately, the two of them stepped it up today. Chandler had 8 points to along with his 9 boards while Kevin Love was the second leading scorer on the team with 14 points but only pulled down a subpar 3 rebounds. The impact the two big men had on this game was crucial to them being able to dominate France. Team USA out rebounded France 49-33, however it wasn’t only Kevin Love and Tyson Chandler rebounding and I can understand that.
Just like the Boston Celtics, they let Rajon Rondo do the rebounding so that they can get out and run quicker than having a big man pull down a rebound and find an open guy to run the floor. That’s pretty much the same thing here with Team USA. They’re letting guys like Anthony, who had 9 rebounds to along with his 9 points today, and James to snag the rebounds to get out and run. So when you look at the boxscore from now on, don’t judge Team USA’s big men based on their rebounds because they have other guys to do that as well. You don’t want Chandler to run the floor, you wan’t Chris Paul to do it, and you know those guards like him and Deron Williams, who dished out 6 assists off the bench today, can rebound as well.
Nonetheless, Love stepped it up slightly today and scored a good amount for Team USA. Offensive rebounding is another thing. That’s one thing the bigs have to do. Chandler at least led the way with 4 offensive rebounds for Team USA which allowed them to get second chance shots.
For France, they were simply playing a better team, which is what I’m probably going to say every time after Team USA wins a game in the 2012 London Olympics.
On July 31, France will be taking on Argentina in what would be a great match-up of teams as we can also see two of the San Antonio Spurs’ Big 3 battle it out with Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. That game will tip-off at 8:00 PM in London and will be shown live in the United States at 3:00 PM ET.
Team USA will be taking on Tunisia, who lost today to Nigeria 60-56, on July 31. The game will tip-off at 10:15 PM in London and will be shown live in the United States at 5:15 PM ET.