The first game for USA Basketball went as expected when Team USA routed China 119-62 to open up their group play on Saturday. The 57-point win was an improvement on the two exhibitions for the U.S. against China within the last few weeks when they won by 49 points and 50 points, respectively.
As if there was even a hint to the contrary, the opening victory on Saturday established USA Basketball as the remaining standard of where you need to get as a team to think about challenging for a gold medal in the Rio Olympics this month. Kevin Durant led all Americans with 25 points, which also tied Yi Jianlin’s scoring in the contest.
Now they turn their attention back toward Venezuela on Monday. During their fourth exhibition of their exhibition tour prior to heading to Rio, the Americans were still dominant in their showdown with Venezuela, but they also played their ugliest game of the five-contest set. Team USA won 80-45, totaling by far their lowest scoring output of the exhibitions. While the defense was sound, they played ugly offense and missed wide-open shot after wide-open shot.
They’ll want to take care of Venezuela in spectacular fashion to make up for their friendly mistakes.
Venezuela lost their opening game in Group A play against Serbia on Saturday. Gregory Echenique and Jose Vargas led Venezuela with 12 points each in their 86-62 loss. Venezuela, who is probably the weakest competition of the Olympic basketball play, shot just 37 percent from the field against Serbia and made just 4-of-22 from 3-point range.
Courtesy: CBS Sports