Kevin Durant leads as USA blows out China in Olympics opener – USA TODAY
RIO DE JANEIROÂ âÂ The third viewing of USA-China in menâs basketball this summer looked just like the previous two.
After pounding China by a combined 99 points in two exhibition games in July, the USA won 119-62 on Saturday in the Olympic opener for both teams.
Too much offense, too much defense and too much talent propelled the USA to its 46th consecutive victory in international competition and its 18th consecutive Olympic victory.
âWe played really hard and we shared the ball. In the third quarter, on every bucket we made, it was assisted,â U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski said of a game in which the USA had 31 assists on 38 baskets. âIf we keep playing hard and keep sharing the ball, I think weâre going to get better.â
Forwards Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony â the only two holdovers from the 2012 London Olympics gold-medal team â led the way.
Durant had 25 points and six assists, and at that rate, Durant could surpass his American scoring record of 156 points in one Olympics.
âKD is KD. Heâs one of the best players in the world,â Krzyzewski said. âHeâs playing defense and when he gets going like that, itâs a pretty neat thing to have.”
The leader of this team, Anthony, who is going for his third gold medal, is one of the all-time great Olympic players, and his command of international game was on display.
Anthony, who is likely to finish this event as the USAâs all-time leadingÂ Olympic scorer, had nine points and seven rebounds. He has (239) points in his Olympic career and trails Michael Jordan (256), David Robinson (270) and LeBron James (273) on the all-time list.
âCarmelo has four Olympics of experience,â Krzyzewski said. âIâm proud of him. Heâs been a selfless leader and the guys respect Carmelo.â
While the USA is loaded All-NBA performers and All-Stars, it is short on international experience after Anthony and Durant. Six players on this roster had never played an official international game until Saturday. But they got off to a good start in Rio.
Guard Kyrie Irving, who was the MVP of the 2014 FIBA World Cup, demonstrated his ability to score in bunches. He had 12 points on four three-pointers in 126-second span of the third quarter.
Center DeMarcus Cousins entered the competition as a player to watch. Who is going to stop the Sacramento Kings big man in the low post? Cousins had 17 points and five rebounds.
Paul George made his U.S. national team debut â after suffering a compound fracture in an exhibition game just before the start of the 2014 World Cup. He missed almost all of the 2014-15 season and returned to All-NBA level in 2015-16. He had 15 points.
China features former NBA center Yi Jianlian and 2016 second-round draft picks Zhou Qi and Wang Zhelin. Yi led China with 25 points, but Zhou and Wang struggled against the USAâs pressure defense, which forced 24 turnovers.
China shot 36% from the field and 29% on three-pointers.
âThatâs our identity â defense first. Thatâs some thatâs preached daily, and itâs something we acceptâ Cousins said. âThatâs how we get the game rolling. Thatâs how we get our energy.â
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