Editor's note: Bumped to the front page for timeliness. -NP
On the whole, this game was everything it was expected to be.
Team USA took the early lead and dominated the rest of the way, winning 119-61. Defense got a little sloppy in the third and fourth quarters, but China wasn’t able to get anywhere near striking distance. Despite an impressive 25 points from Yi Jianlian, Team USA was able to shut down the rest of the team. China had difficulty holding on to the ball, allowing 24 turnovers to Team USA’s 9. They chose to play the foul game in the second half, but with the exception of DeAndre Jordan (3-10 FT), that didn’t turn out so well for them. Team USA went 33-45 from the line.
It was a quiet night for Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, combining for 5 points total, though Green had 3 assists and 4 rebounds. Thompson, despite ample playing time as a starter, never really heated up on offense, though he managed a block and two steals and had a pretty solid defensive game.
The most memorable part of the night was The Kevin Durant Show. Durant scored 25 points, including a stretch of three back to back threes that were glorious to behold. Perhaps the biggest takeaway from this game was how well he is going to fit in with the next man up mentality of the Warriors. As we’ve seen, Thompson and Curry can have off nights where it’s not really coming together for them offensively, and sometimes they have those at the same time. The addition of Durant means less pressure will be put on Green and the bench to step up on offense.
Also noteworthy was that at some points early in the game, Durant had four defenders on him in the paint and still managed to score, then was able to get wide open three point shots. Worth noting because he’ll be playing with two of the best shooters in the NBA, and that is going to split the defense and provide more open shots for all three of them. And just imagining that is better than the finest of wines.
After the game, Durant spoke with Ros Gold-Onwude about his position as the leader of this team, stressing that he wants to set the tone and intensity on both ends of the court. He once again said that they can’t take anything for granted because they still have seven games to get the gold, so they will not overlook any of their opponents.
Other noteworthy performances were DeMarcus Cousins, who scored 17, going 5-5 on free throws; Paul George, who went 7-7 on free throws and had an impressive fourth quarter; and Kyrie Irving, who heated up in the third quarter for three very nice back to back three point shots. Former Warrior Harrison Barnes scored 8 points and got 4 rebounds, with a couple of really nice dunks. Good old HB.
Team USA next faces Venezuela on Monday at 3:00pm PDT.
Earlier in the day, former Warrior Andrew Bogut shined in Australia’s 87-66 victory over France. France struggled with turnovers and inefficient defense for the majority of this matchup and Australia took advantage. Bogut in particular, who went 9 -10 from the field for 18 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists. To be fair, France wasn’t exactly going out of their way to guard him for a lot of those shots, but it was still great to see Bogut shooting with confidence. Backed by Patty Mills’ 21 points and Matthew Dellavedova’s 10 assists, Australia took the lead early and shut France down in the second half, despite a solid effort by Tony Parker to almost break even before the half. Australia next faces Serbia on Monday at 10:15am PDT.