Team USA kicked off their quest for a second consecutive gold medal on Sunday morning with a 98-71 victory over France in the Olympic preliminary round. Kevin Durant scored 22 points and hauled in 9 rebounds as he overwhelmed a helpless French national team with his long range shooting and efficiency at the free throw line. Still, it was NBA Finals MVP LeBron James who acted as the cog of the offense, scoring 9 points and dishing out 8 assists in 24 minutes of play.
France, led by NBA all-star, Tony Parker, never effectively ran the offense through any particular player and was never able to get into any sort of rhythm. Parker ended with just 10 points on 4-11 shooting, while fellow NBA star Nicolas Batum scored only 7 points on 2-6 shooting. Team USA’s defense smothered the French in the second quarter as they outscored them 30-15, giving them a 52-36 halftime lead. From that point on, James and company were in cruise control: Kevin Love played his best international game to date, scoring 14 points and nailing 3 of his 4 attempted 3-pointers. Anthony Davis got some run at the end, and he caught a blocked shot, which was, well… awesome. Tyson Chandler scored 8 points, pulled down 9 boards, and had 3 assists as he contributed in all facets of the game. Every Team USA player scored as they continued to pounce on a simply overmatched French team.
With the first win in the bag for Team USA, they’ll look to bring home a second on Tuesday when they play Tunisia at 10:15pm (London time).