Monday, July 30, 2012

Team USA men's basketball destroys France 98-71

By Kshell

After a slow first quarter the United States men's basketball team destroyed France 98-71. Team USA outscored the French 56-30 in the second and third quarters to put the game away. Led by rising superstar Kevin Durant who led all scorers with 22 points while also grabbing nine rebounds. Everyone on team USA scored in this contest against a France team led by NBA players such as Tony Parker, Portland Trail Blazers forward Nicolas Batum, Ronny Turiaf and Boris Diaw. They also had former Sonics wing Mickael Gelabale. Team USA despite their lack of size dominated the rebounds 56-40 over France. Lebron James flirted with a triple double scoring nine points, eight assists and five rebounds before not playing at all in the fourth quarter. Kobe Bryant also scored 10 points. Team USA got a nice lift from Kevin Love off the bench as Love was the second leading scorer with 14 points. For team USA this was just business as usual in destroying their competition.

In the first quarter team USA only led 22-21 but in the second quarter they picked it up. Team USA outscored France 30-15 in the second quarter to take a commanding 52-36 lead at halftime. In the first half team USA shot 17-43(39.5%) in the first half, making 6-18(33.3%) on three pointers and 12-16(75.0%) on free throws. They out rebounded France 30-23. The U.S. was led by Kevin Durant who scored 15 points on four for eight shooting including making two three pointers. Durant also was perfect making all five free throws while pulling down five rebounds with two blocks.  Lebron James was in his sharing mode as he only had five points on two for four shooting including a three pointer. However James had four rebounds and led team USA with six assists in the first half showing why he is the best player in the world. James can beat you in so many different ways. Kevin Love was a nice spark off the bench scoring seven points on three for four shooting including a three pointer. Kobe Bryant had seven points on one for three shooting all of which were from three point range but made all four free throws. Carmelo Anthony scored five points on two for six shooting but pulled down seven rebounds. Tyson Chandler the man in the middle scored six points on two for four shooting including two for five from the free throw line. Chandler did provide muscle in the middle with seven rebounds. Team USA opened the game up in the second quarter and never looked back.

For France they played team USA tough in the first quarter but just couldn't keep up in the second quarter. France struggled offensively shooting only 11-29(37.9%) from the field, they really shot terrible from three point range making only 1-11(9.1%) from downtown. The only thing keeping France alive was they attempted 20 free throws but only made 13 of them for 65%. They were also outrebounded in the paint as well. They were led Florent Pietrus who scored eight points on two for four shooting but made all four free throw attemps. San Antonio Spurs star Tony Parker scored six points on two for five shooting and made two for three free throws. When Parker left the game for a quick rest is when team USA turned on the pressure as France committed 11 turnovers while USA only had five. Other NBA players such as Ronny Turiaf played well. The former Gonzaga Bulldog had five points on two for three shooting but made just one for four on free throws. He did have four rebounds. Then Portland Trail Blazers win Nicolas Batum was terrible scoring only two points missing all four field goal attempts which were all three pointers. Batum's play had to concern Blazers fans who recently matched him to a long term deal.

Team USA had a big third quarter outscoring France 26-15 to lead 78-51 after three quarters. Team USA would then cruise to a 98-71 victory. For the game USA shot 31-72(43.1%) from the field, 8-25(32.0%) from three point range and made 28-38(73.7%) from the free throw line. They out-rebounded France 56-40 including 18 offensive rebounds. They were led by Kevin Durant who scored 22 points on 6-13 shooting including three three pointers and a perfect seven for seven at the foul line. Durant also grabbed nine rebounds. Kevin Love scored 14 points on five for eight shooting including a three pointer with three rebounds in only 14 minutes. Kobe Bryant scored 10 points in only 12 minutes. Lebron James scored nine points, eight assists and five rebounds with only one turnover. Russell Westbrook who had foul trouble first half scored nine points with four rebounds and three assists. Carmelo Anthony finished with nine points and nine rebounds. Tyson Chandler scored eight points with nine rebounds.  Deron Williams finished with only three points but six assists. This was a nice victory for Team USA in routing a very talented French team.

For France who is ranked 12th in the world this had to be a frustrating day as they struggled offensively. France shot only 26-66(39.4%) from the field while making 2-22(9.1%) from three point range. They shot 17-27(63.0%) from the free throw line while committing 18 turnovers. Tony Parker finished with 10 points on 4-11 shooting with only one assist and four turnovers. Boris Diaw scored nine points and had six rebounds. Ronny Turiaf scored seven points and pulled down nine rebounds. Former Sonic Mickael Gelabale scored four points with four rebounds. While Nicolas Batum finished with seven points on two for six shooting and showed why the Blazers were dumb to match that offer. Team USA proved to be too big, too athletic and too skilled. Team USA also was too tough defensively especially on the wings. Far as the NBA goes only Parker is a star even though Batum is being paid like one. Diaw is a nice role player on the Spurs while Turiaf piggybacked an NBA title recently with the Heat. France just doesn't have the talent compete with the United States but getting blown away when at times the U.S. looked bad has to be concerning.

For team USA there was no reason to gloat or celebrate as this was just simply business as usual. For USA you either win gold or it was a failure there is no inbetween. This was a nice dominant win for USA over a very solid France team who matched up well for the U.S. as France strengths are their wings which is what USA is the best in the world at. Should be interesting what team USA does against teams with some size going forward but for now this was a great way to open up the Olympics as USA crushed the team France in this opening game 98-71.


- There was a special guest at the game which was first lady Michelle Obama the wife of United States president Barack Obama. In the Olympics you'll see this as former president George W. Bush was at the games in 2008. This is the time of year where patriotism comes out and we all cheer on our athletes why I enjoy the Olympics so much. As we all know president Obama's go to sport is basketball and quite a few of these guys have already played against him in pick up games in the past. Obama is to basketball what Bush was to baseball. Every president has their sport of choice and for Obama it's basketball. So it was refreshing to see the first lady interacting with several of the players before the game. It was nice to see her involved and like I said quite a few of these guys have had good relationships with the president during his past four years.

- Lebron James can beat you in so many different ways as he showed in the NBA playoffs. With so many great players on this roster look for James to rack up the assists. Despite having Chris Paul(9.8 APG career) and Deron Williams(9.2 APG career) I think James is the best passer on the team. James is trying to complete the best season since Michael Jordan in 1992 where you win the regular season MVP, NBA Finals MVP and win the gold medal. Jordan so far is the only player to ever do that. James will score when he has to but this game he didn't have to instead he found his open teammates and had eight assists. If this was a closer game James would have finished with a triple double but he didn't play at all in the fourth quarter as coach K rested him knowing he is going to need James to log some big minutes in a few games.

- The reason James and Kobe Bryant can take a back seat in some games is because of Kevin Durant. Durant who is already a matchup nightmare in the NBA because of his size(6'1l") combined with his great shooting ability is virtually unstoppable in international play. The three point line is closer and the only wings who could even stand a chance of defending him are on team USA. Durant scored 22 points while pulling down nine rebounds in this win over France. For Durant who was the MVP of the World Games in 2008 he is quickly putting the NBA Finals loss behind him. This Olympics with his teammates Russell Westbrook and James Harden is only going to make him a better player. Kind of a scary thought for the rest of the league knowing that Durant can somehow get better. Look at Lebron James in 2008 he was already a great player then noticed Bryant's work ethic on defense then became the best defender in the NBA. Look for some of James and Bryant to rub off on Durant.

In the end I love the Olympics because I get to see Lebron James, Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant all be on the court at the same time. We haven't had a trio like this since the 1992 games where you had Jordan, Bird and Magic all top 10 players of all-time. I have a feeling 20 years from now James, Bryant and Durant will be top 10 players of all-time. In fact I'd put Bryant and James in that top 10 right now. Team USA was impressive in their opening win over France and look for them to continue. In 2008 they were only challenged in the gold medal game against Spain. This team will have moments where they are being tested but if they were to lose that would be the biggest upset in international play history. I just don't see a team with James, Durant and Bryant losing. This was a good blowout win over a team that had four current NBA players so look for the United States to keep on blowing out their opponents as the Olympics goes on.

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