London, July 30 (IANS):
Kevin Durant scored 22 points in his Olympic debut to help the US men’s basketball team take a 98-71 opening win over France on Sunday. Dominant, but not a dream start, as head coach Mike Krzyzewski said this is the US team, not a “Dream Team”.
The US team started the match by missing its first six three-point attempts and only led by one point after the first quarter, Xinhua reported.
Although the US team was never in real trouble, 14 turnovers and 26 fouls still kept this superstar-laden squad from feeling too comfortable.
Kevin Love added 14 points and LeBron James had eight assists. James only took six shots while setting up his teammates.
“It wasn’t perfect,” said James. “We’ve still got room for improvement. We had too many turnovers, too many fouls and we had a couple of defensive rebounds we could have come up with. But overall, we played a pretty good game for as close to 40 minutes as possible.”
Kobe Bryant only played 12 minutes and took 10 points. Combined with James and Durant, the trio finished the game 6 of 12 from three-point range while the rest of the US team went 2 for 13.
“We know everybody else expects us to win by 40 points,” said Carmelo Anthony. “For us, a win’s a win. We expect every game to be like this one.”
Tony Parker, who almost missed the Olympics after undergoing surgery for an eye injury, was forced only to 10 points. Ali Traore led the French side with 12 points. France fell to 0-5 in Olympic competition against the US.