Team USA started its quest for Olympic gold in dominating fashion by defeating China 119-62 on Saturday.
This was the third time Team USA has played China in the last couple of weeks and it was more of the same as the previous two exhibition games, which they won by 49 and then 50 points, respoectively. USA was led by Kevin Durant, who scored 25 points, and got a 17 point, five-rebound performance from DeMarcus Cousins. China’s high scorer was former lottery pick Yi Jianlian, who scored 25 points .
Here’s are our takeaways:
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Team USA just put on a clinic on offense all game, as they always made the extra pass to find the open man. USA finished the game with 31 assists on 38 made field goals, which is just incredible in a game that could’ve easily gotten sloppy given USA’s dominance.
It wasn’t just the team’s point guards that were dishing out dimes, as Durant led the team with six assists, Jimmy Butler had four and both Draymond Green and Paul George each had three of their own. But don’t just look at the numbers. Kyrie Irving, who was the last Team USA player to score before hitting three consecutive 3-pointers in the second half, was a master conductor all game, passing up plenty of his own looks to keep the ball moving.
This is no surprise, but it’s still always striking just how wide the talent gap between Team USA and many of these international teams. It may be that way through these Olympics with many NBA stars sitting out for their respective countries, notably Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol of Spain.
China just had no chance to hang with Team USA, which set the tone from the outset with a 26-6 run to close the first quarter and never looked back. The starters — Durant, Irving, Klay Thompson, Cousins and Carmelo Anthony — were noticeably sharper than the second unit, and Anthony, probably the best international power forward in the world, was aggressive early both inside and out.
Ultimately nobody played more than 20 minutes. Thompson, who finished with 17 points, led the team with just over 19 minutes played. It was really a clinic all game, as USA only really played to the score and got a tad sloppy to start the second half.
If Team USA continues to play defense like they did against the China, the rest of the field is in for a world of hurt. Always putting a hand in a shooter’s face, pressuring ball handlers and just making life difficult for China, Team USA would not let up all game.
Their depth made a big difference as well, especially in the second quarter when the lineup of Paul George, Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan and DeAndre Jordan put the clamps on China, allowing USA’s lead to balloon. China could not do much against USA as they finished the game with more turnovers (24) than actual made baskets (20).
Despite noted marksman Klay Thompson missing all three of his three-point attempts, three-point shooting made a big difference in this game. Kyrie Irving made four threes in the third quarter, Durant shot 5 of 8 from distance and as a team, and USA finished at 37 percent on 10 of 27 from deep.
The line is a little closer in international play, and rest assured USA is going to keep launching from deep. Realistically, this is the area other teams have to win to have any kind of a shot against the US. China was only able to hit six 3-pointers. That isn’t going to cut it, obviously, when you’re trying to overcome such a mismatch. You wonder if any team can get hot enough from behind the line to even make Team USA sweat for any extended period of time.
USA will now have a day of rest before playing against Venezuela on Monday — another team they easily beat in exhibition play.
Coach K remains undefeated in the Olympics
Since taking over as the coach of USA Basketball, Mike Krzyzewski has not lost a single game in the Olympics. This is not too surprising as USA basketball has pretty much been dominant since their bronze medal finish in the 2004 Olympics and at the 2006 World Championship.
However, since then USA Basketball has won 69 straight games in international play and Coach K’s Olympic record is a perfect 17-0 (via ESPN’s Stats & Info).
Teams and full schedule
Saturday, August 6
Australia vs. France, 1:15 p.m. ET
USA vs. China, 6 p.m. ET
Venezuela vs. Serbia, 9:30 p.m. ET
Sunday, August 7
Brazil vs. Lithuania, 1:15 p.m. ET
Croatia vs. Spain, 6 p.m. ET
Argentina vs. Nigeria, 9:30 p.m. ET
Monday, August 8
Serbia vs. Australia, 1:15 p.m. ET
USA vs. Venezuela, 6 p.m. ET
France vs. China, 9:30 p.m. ET
Tuesday, August 9
Spain vs. Brazil, 1:15 p.m. ET
Lithuania vs. Nigeria, 6 p.m. ET
Argentina vs. Croatia, 9:30 p.m. ET
Wednesday, August 10
Serbia vs. France, 1:15 p.m. ET
Australia vs. USA, 6 p.m. ET
Venezuela vs. China, 9:30 p.m. ET
Thursday, August 11
Brazil vs. Croatia, 1:15 p.m. ET
Nigeria vs. Spain 6 p.m. ET
Lithuania vs. Argentina, 9:30 p.m. ET
Friday, August 12
China vs. Australia, 1:15 p.m. ET
USA vs. Serbia, 6 p.m. ET
France vs. Venezuela, 9:30 p.m. ET
Saturday, August 13
Argentina vs. Brazil, 1:15 p.m. ET
Spain vs. Lithuania, 6 p.m. ET
Croatia vs. Nigeria, 9:30 p.m. ET
Sunday, August 14
USA vs. France, 1:15 p.m. ET
Australia vs. Venezuela 6 p.m. ET
China vs. Serbia, 9:30 p.m. ET
Monday, August 15
Nigeria vs. Brazil, 1:15 p.m. ET
Spain vs. Argentina, 6 p.m. ET
Lithuania vs. Croatia, 9:30 p.m. ET
Wednesday, August 17 Quarterfinals
A1 vs. B4, TBD
A2 vs. B3, TBD
B1 vs. A4, TBD
B2 vs. A3, TBD
Friday, August 19 Semifinals
Winner A1 – B4 vs. Winner A3 – B2, TBD
Winner B1 – A4 vs. Winner A2 – B3, TBD
Sunday August 21 Bronze medal game
Semifinal loser 1 vs. Semifinal loser 2, 10:30 a.m. ET
Gold medal game
Semifinal winner 1 vs. Semifinal winner 2, 2:45 p.m. ET
Courtesy: CBS Sports