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U.S. men's basketball starts slowly in 98-71 victory over France

July 29, 2012|By Mike Bresnahan
  • Kevin Durant had 22 points as the U.S. defeated France at the London Olympics.
Kevin Durant had 22 points as the U.S. defeated France at the London Olympics. (Rob Carr / Getty Images )

LONDON -- As Olympic openers go, there was nothing terribly dreamy in the beginning.

The U.S. men's basketball team held a slender one-point lead over France after one quarter but rallied to win with ease, 98-71, Sunday at the Olympic Park arena.

Kevin Durant had 22 points and Kevin Love had 14 for the U.S., which made only nine of 24 shots (29%) in the first quarter.

But then Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul hit three-pointers over the first few minutes of the second quarter and the U.S. was never challenged from there, taking a 52-36 halftime lead.

Bryant had 10 points and Anthony had nine. LeBron James was in pass-first mode, finishing with nine points and eight assists.

James created the highlight of the game, a spinning, twisting bounce pass that traveled almost the length of the court, finding Durant for a dunk that turned into a three-point play after a foul.

The U.S. ended up making 31 of 72 shots (43%) and straightened out from the three-point line after missing its first seven attempts there. The U.S. made eight of 25 overall from behind the arc.

Tony Parker had a very quiet game for France, finishing with 10 points and only one assist. His availability for the Olympics was originally in doubt after he had eye surgery stemming from a nightclub brawl last month. He was cleared to play a few weeks ago and wore protective goggles Sunday.

NBA players Boris Diaw and Nicolas Batum combined for only 16 points for France, which was led in scoring by Ali Traore (12 points). Ronny Turiaf had seven points for France.

The U.S. plays Tunisia next, on Tuesday.

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