This year’s Olympic basketball team looks infinitely different than previous games. There is no Chris Paul or LeBron James; Stephen Curry and Russell Westbrook also withdrew, and countless other stars are sitting out this summer to rest up for the 2016-17 NBA season.
Despite the lack of Hall of Fame talent, the United States is still throwing out a loaded roster, equipped with the likes of Kevin Durant, DeMarcus Cousins, Jimmy Butler, and other guys who make up the next round of superstars.
All 12 guys played at least 12 minutes in their 111-74 victory over the Argentinian team, and Kevin Durant and Paul George were right at the head of it. Durant was the game’s leading scorer with 23 in 20 minutes, and it was his first time since announcing his signing with the Warriors that he took the court with Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.
“I didn’t really notice. I was just lost in the game,” said Durant to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. George also had an electrifying return to international play and dropped 18 points on 7/11 shooting in his 16 minutes of action.
He suffered his horrifying leg fracture two years ago while playing in the USAB showcase in preparation for the FIBA World Cup, and head coach Mike Krzyzewski said that George is “playing the best basketball in his life right now,” according to Michael Lee of The Vertical.
Carmelo Anthony was the third leading scorer for the US with 17, and Cousins notched a 14-point, 15-rebound double-double in just 16 minutes — seven of his boards came on the offensive end.
Overall, the United States looked decent and finished with field goal percentages of 44.8 from the field and 34.1 from three. A lot of guys had shooting issues — Thompson was 3/11, Kyrie Irving was 3/8, and both Jimmy Butler and Green went 1/6. Argentina was forced into 23 turnovers, resulting in 32 points for USAB, and the disparity on the boards was incredible, with the United States hauling in 53 to Argentina’s 30.
Their next game is on July 24 at the STAPLES Center versus China, and tip-off is scheduled for 5 PM Pacific time.
All data courtesy of USA Basketball
Follow me on Twitter