Durant, U.S. Rout France 98-71 In Opener

LONDON – Those post-game hugs they got from First Lady Michelle Obama were well-earned.

Those post-game embraces from the First Lady brought more excitement from the U.S. Men’s Senior National Team than anything France did here Sunday at the Olympic basketball stadium.

The opener for both teams was supposed to provide a test for the gold medal favorites, and for all of about 10 minutes that theory seemed to be intact. But the U.S. Team cranked up after taking a 22-21 first quarter lead and toyed with France before finishing off their rout 98-71 in Group A preliminary round matchup.

Kevin Durant led the way with 22 points and nine rebounds in 28 minutes of action, topping or tying for the top spot all three categories. LeBron James dictated the action without pressing to score too much, finishing with nine points and a game-high eight of the U.S. Team’s 27 assists. And Kevin Love came off the bench and bettered that efficiency with 14 points (on 5-for-8 shooting) in his 14 minutes and 18 seconds of action.

As good as they were after shaking off an 0-for-6 shooting start from beyond the 3-point line and their own sloppy play, France clearly wasn’t capable of pressuring the U.S. the way some believed they would with Tony Parker leading a team with eight other players with NBA experience wearing blue.

“They are going to be very, very tough to beat,” Parker said afterwards, stopping short of calling the U.S. unbeatable one game into the competition despite watching the U.S. lead balloon to as many as 29 points during one stretch.

Durant said the goal was simply to establish themselves and get into a flow for what they know will be a tougher grind as the days go by. The U.S. returns to action Tuesday night against Tunisia.

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to discuss and dissect from this game. For one, the U.S. let their aggressive tendencies on defense get them into foul trouble. They piled up all of those assists but also cost themselves at times by trying a little too hard to make the extra pass, if there is such a thing.

“Yes it is,” Durant said. “And sometimes we do that. But that’s the beauty of this team. Guys don’t mind passing the ball, don’t mind sacrificing minutes and shots. That’s what makes this whole thing work.”

Durant has drawn the ire of U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski as well as some of his teammates, namely Chris Paul, for not being more aggressive. As versatile as all of the NBA All-Stars and standouts on the U.S. roster are, there is only one of them that can lay claim to being the three-time, and counting, league scoring champ.

“I just told KD to be himself and on a team like this you can kind of shy away from it because there are so many great players here,” James said. “KD is on this team for a reason. He’s one of the best players this world has and a three-time scoring champ. So we don’t want to the KD that defers. We want the KD that you see playing for Oklahoma City.”

Durant obliged in spurts against France. He knocked down three of his five attempts from beyond the 3-point line but also finished strong at the rim in transition, blocked two shots and tied Tyson Chandler for the team-led in rebounds.

One of seven newcomers to the Olympics on this squad, Durant is doing his best to blend in while his teammates are demanding that he do what they know he’s capable of and dominate when he sees an opening.

They’re asking him to play the way they did, for the most part, against France.

There’s no need to put on a show, but when you’re capable of doing so …

“As long as we’re out there playing the right way, whatever comes out of that is fine with us,” James said. “We want to play the right way, we want to share the ball offensively, we want to defend at a high level and we want to rebound. And again, whatever comes out of that we’re fine with it.”

63 Comments

  1. Juan says:

    Is not nba is fiba basketball. its different. Argentina and Spain are the greteast teams. usa team has got the best players,

  2. viewer says:

    is there a reason why i can’t find a video of game highlights anywhere?

  3. BRINA says:

    FORGET ABOUT LEBRON, ITS ALL ABOUT CARMELO ANTHONY MELO ALL DAY SO YOU ALL NEED TO GET YOUR EYES CLEANED AND WATCH FOR THE BIIIGG 15 MELO!

    • SmoothMM says:

      Melo’s beasting: no one’s denying that. They’re just highlighting a player that they feel most people like/ prefer to watch. I see Carmelo Anthony though. Dropping buckets, stripping balls and snagging offensive boards like the ball stole his lady.

  4. regmac says:

    Never underestimate…

  5. Spain FTW! They would easily win gold if they had Scalabrine.

  6. don matthews says:

    not bad

  7. anORinSgp says:

    Batum’s play must’ve been extremely disappointing to the Blazers fans who are expecting a superstar on the French team emerging. He better be really good or the fans will turn on him as quickly as they turned on Felton for getting low output relative to the money he got. I don’t know if it’s worth the $1 or $2 million extra, but loss of confidence will rob Batum of future income. Good luck in Portland Nic…you asked for money and you got, but the relationship with the fans has changed.

    • TURRIBLE says:

      Batum is gonna be out of portland anyway. he wants out and i give Batum and portland a year left

  8. paul says:

    someone saw the Argentina team?

  9. me says:

    USA will win, not because theya re better but because this other teams are lacking, now they might have Parker, Ibaka and a few others but those people alone cannot win so unfortunately they will lose.

  10. blackmamba says:

    where can i watch the highlights thanks

  11. brice aka says:

    so good all this. let go for the victory in the usa team.!! congratulation lebron

  12. aussie_maniac says:

    up the aussies

  13. DurantFan says:

    I’m also tired of hearing about Lebron and the USA team. Durant is an awesome leader and a great all around person.

  14. karolisjachimavicius says:

    Apparently, James Harden is human, has emotions, likes to play basketball, his dunk showed.

  15. waldow says:

    A King doesn’t have to take down enemies in order to win battles..a good leadership is his prime move to capture the gold…

    • defense wins championships says:

      yeah..i ain’t a lebron fan, but certainly he has a point…hey charles, basketball isnt about all offense…durant, yes he is a 3 time scoring champ…what about ben wallace???!!!! he’s got a championship ring…enough said…

  16. Baller says:

    Why will they just ask KD to perform well when the other superstars are not playing their A games too similar to when they’re playing on their NBA Team? USABall is not just about Durant

    • JDish says:

      LOL I think the other players on team USA are just letting KD take control cause of the fact that he’s a 3-time scoring champ, while Lebron James controls the flow. Everyone is just on the same page, that makes this team great, everyone is willing to defer to their teammates.

      • SmoothMM says:

        Good point. They all have a role, which is the reason why they were invited and selected. LeBron is the setup man when Paul and Williams are on the bench (a few times when one starts) and Durant is the go-to scorer when Team USA is in a slump or otherwise. Everyone has their role.

  17. Jen says:

    Durant is already improving this summer. I’m impressed with his strong character, love for his country, and positive leadership.

  18. Pikachu says:

    Lebron and his team are doing great, its going to be easy to win gold.

  19. dennis says:

    Where can I view the highlights of this game?

  20. Charles says:

    I’m tired of hearing how it’s “Lebron and the rest.” Durant has been leading the team since the first exhibition game, and Lebron is barely a factor in most of the games. Yeah, he’s good, but he’s not leading the team. I think the NBA just likes the moniker of “The king as his men.” Lame.. just tell it like it is.

    • LBJFan says:

      LOL Charles, FYI basketball isn’t just about scoring. If you ever try to watch the highlights, LeBron is controlling the flow of the game more often than not. You hate LeBron but don’t blame others for seeing the greatness in his plays. You sound as if you know nothing but scoring in basketball.

      • hooplover says:

        scoring or not, give durant his props!

      • Kingdom says:

        Charles!!!!!!
        just cuz durant can score , that doesnt mean that he is the greatest on the team
        LEBRON can do EVERYTHING, he can score at will, has amazing court vision, is tough for rebounding and can play all 5 positions
        ENOUGH said, LEBRON HAS A REASON TO BE THE LEAGUE MVP

      • SmoothMM says:

        League MVP: Yes… In the Olympics, Durant is the man. They don’t ask him to handle the ball like LeBron does, but if they did, KD would do a good job. He’s been dishing the ball well for Team USA so far, even with his high scoring numbers. He’s also been great on the boards.

    • tom says:

      you do not understand how the man who sets it up makes it easy for durant .

    • you says:

      You leave the planet. The most stupid Americans.

    • 11 says:

      if you only watch how lebron start the 2nd quarter that lead team usa to victory

  21. I love Tony Parker!!!

  22. neitel says:

    sekou, please stop smiling man…you look like you are trying too hard to land a gig at NBATV.

  23. yoyo says:

    if you really want to dunk! you should check this out:
    [0f4f60khv21qcl6vgc08ulgozd.hop.clickbank.net]

  24. Tod Smith says:

    It’s going to be impossible to beat USA this Olympics. All the players know that this is their last Olympics.

  25. CELTICS>>>LAKERS says:

    pathetic.. i would easily take USA teams 92, 96 and 00 over this years team.. i just dont feel it anymore since 08

  26. USA Will destroy everyone!USA wins gold medal and makes it a perfect 8-0!Book it!

  27. What about Howard ??? says:

    All this talk and not a word about Howard – UNBELIEVABLE !!!

  28. meatloaf100 says:

    team usa is boss

  29. Fisken says:

    @Jerubaal

    who wouldn’t? shes a FLILF

  30. Jerubaal says:

    sekou, you sound like YOU want a hug from the first lady

  31. thespectator says:

    way to go TEAM USA, im still waiting on that 60-0 run