United States 98 France 71: Mean Dream Team demolish Les Bleus in Games opener
15:58 GMT, 29 July 2012
The United States lived up to their dominant reputation with a rout of France in their opening game of the London Olympics.
Although the French, who have plenty of NBA-calibre talent in their squad, were able to match them for the first quarter, the defending champions quickly began to wear them down thereafter.
A one-point gap at the end of the first had become a 16 point deficit by half-time, before nearing 30 in the final minutes.
Lift off: Kevin Durant goes up for a slam dunk against France
Stars and stripes: Kobe Bryant (centre) celebrates with team-mates Durant (left) and Carmelo Anthony
Though it was from a France turnover
that Kevin Durant dunked to give the Americans an early 6-2 lead, Les
Bleus were impressive in the first quarter.
Ronny Turiaf responded with a dunk of his own, and Nicolas Batum then got in a great block to deny Durant an easy lay-up.
Tony Parker, still recovering from a scary eye injury that led to
surgery last month, looked off the pace early on as he missed early
shots, but it was his lay-up and free throw that brought France back
into touching distance at 13-10.
On the ball: LeBron James for the USA in their victory over the French
Dunk: Durant makes his mark
Kevin Seraphin got in a block to deny Russell Westbrook, Yannick Bokolo
nailed a three-pointer on the buzzer to leave France 22-21 down at the
end of the first quarter.
the second quarter was another story as the United States began to
impose themselves, with Kobe Bryant and Kevin Love coming to the fore.
inspired an early 11-0 spurt that had them 33-21 up on Chris Paul's
three-pointer, and Love then took over, playing strong defence and
scoring a quick lay-up and three-pointer that sent them 43-28 clear.
Say what: James reacts to a decision
Squeeze: Forward Carmelo Anthony tries to get past two French players
James Harden's fine pass set up LeBron James for a loud dunk that made it 50-36 shortly before half-time.
hit a three to start the second half and after another from Bryant,
Tyson Chandler's dunk gave the Americans a 60-38 advantage.
France beginning to struggle the Americans threatened to turn the game
into an intrasquad dunking contest, with James and Carmelo Anthony
slamming them home in quick succession.
Over you go: James takes a tumble
got worse for France when Batum left the court appearing to have a
problem while Seraphin's attempt at a dramatic dunk flew back off the
They were running out
of ways to contain the Americans, and a preparation period Parker had
described as 'terrible' due to injuries and other problems affecting the
squad caught up with them in the face of the United States' depth.
Interested crowd: First Lady Michelle Obama watches on
Team talk: Head coach Mike Krzyzewski with his men
score was 78-51 at the end of the third quarter and the Americans began
to ease off down the stretch with the likes of James and Bryant taking
to the bench.
In came James
Harden to score a big dunk, as well as Anthony Davis, a 2012 draft pick
of the New Orleans Hornets who became the first player without NBA
experience to appear for the United States in an Olympic Games since
Emeka Okafor in 2004.
Durant led the Americans with 22 points while Love had 14 and Bryant 10. Durant added nine rebounds.
Ali Traore had 12 and Parker 10 for France.
Big guns: American stars Kobe Bryant (left) and Lebron James run out ahead of their clash with France