In their Olympics opener, team USA convincingly beat France by 27 points, 98-71. The game recap and review below:
USA started the game off well. After losing the opening tip, they forced a turnover, and LeBron James and Tyson Chandler hooked up for a nice alley-oop layup on the other end. USA put their great ball pressure on display, forcing turnovers and tough shots. On the other end, they took advantage of their fastbreak opportunities. At around the 5 minute mark Tony Parker and Ronny Turiaf played the pick and roll to perfection, as Parker got to the basket and converted on an and-one. The pace of the game eventually slowed down, as both teams struggled to convert in their half-court sets. Yannick Bokolo beat the first quarter buzzer from long-range, and cut USA’s lead down to 21-22.
After shaking off the initial nerves, LeBron James opened up the 2nd quarter with a 3-point shot, to spark an 11-0 run for USA. Half-way through the quarter, Kevin Durant came up with a huge block in the paint, swatting the ball away. Unfortunately for USA, Nicolas Batum caught the ball and was fouled on a three-point shot. With 4:50 left in the quarter, team USA got into the penalty, but France continued shooting poorly from the free-throw line. Towards the end of the quarter James Harden thread the needle to James in the paint, who dunked the ball hard. Overall, USA played a lot better in the 2nd quarter, knocking down shots with consistency, and went into the break with a commanding 52-36 lead.
Team USA picked up right where they left off, connecting with perimeter shots, and James hitting his trademark turnaround fadeaway jumper. James continued his show, as Deron Williams set him up with a nice lob and he threw it down. France defense was looking crippled for most of the quarter, and they got nothing for free on offense. Team USA finished the quarter with a 78-51 lead.
The 1st overall pick of the 2012 NBA Draft, Anthony Davis, checked into the game for his first minutes in the olympics. Attack after attack his teammates were looking for Davis with lobs, but he failed to convert a couple of times, until he threw down a lob from Deron Williams. Clearly given up, France settled for shots for the majority of the quarter instead of driving to the basket, and USA could easily defend without fouling. Both teams went deep into their benches to finish the game, which was out of reach for France.
Despite team USA’s bad habit of starting the game slow in the first quarter, the end result was never in doubt after the 2nd quarter, which they won 30-15. Team USA dominated the game on both ends of the floor, displayed their superior bench, and spiced the game up with impressive dunks. They did a great job containing Tony Parker, holding the French guard to a mere 10 points. USA did a better job sharing the ball, adding up to 27 assists collectively, while France only assisted on 10 of their baskets. USA won the rebouding battle by 56-40, grabbing an impressive 18 offensive rebounds.
Kevin Durant lead all scorers with 22 points, and Kevin Love added 14. LeBron James only scored 9 points but lead the team in assists, dishing out 8.
Next in line to take on team USA is Tunisia, who lost to Nigeria earlier today.