Led by Kevin Durant, the U.S. Men’s Basketball team rolled over France in its Olympic opener, 98-71. Durant was the hot hand on the court, collecting 22 points and nine rebounds in 28 minutes. After a close first quarter the U.S. blew the game open, taking a 27-point lead into the fourth. Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs led a valiant French team, but went 4/11 from the field with just 10 points.
Behind Durant the rest of Team USA shared a balanced workload, with most of the team taking the court for at least 10 minutes each. Small ball was the theme of the day, with point guards Chris Paul, Deron Williams, and Russell Westbrook maxing out their playing time behind Durant and Lebron James. Kevin Love and Kobe Bryant contributed 14 and 10 points, respectively.
France is not considered a medal contender at this year’s games, but features a handful of NBA players, including Boris Diaw and Ronny Turiaf, as well as Parker. A buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Yannick Bokolo at the end of the first quarter left the score at 22-21, invigorating French fans in the crowd. That was the peak of the game for France however, as they were outscored 56-30 in the next two quarters.
Parker was seen wearing goggles during the game, as he plans to do throughout the tournament. He sustained a serious eye-injury as a bystander in a New York club fight between Chris Brown and Drake’s entourages.
”It’s so funny, because I just had my best year in the NBA and in one night it can change,” Parker told the AP of the incident. ”It just puts life in perspective and you think, ‘OK, next time I have to be careful,’ but at the same time you can’t stop living because then you don’t even cross the street.”
Durant was a large piece of the 2010 U.S. team that took home the FIBA world championship, and looks poised to lead this year’s team to the gold as well. After losing to Olympic teammate James and the Miami Heat in the NBA finals, he most certainly has intensity to spare.