Team USA Men's Basketball downs China by 57 in its first 2016 Olympics game

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It was a warm-up game, to be sure, but the Team USA men’s basketball outfit certainly seemed on pace to defend its gold medal standing as it took down China 119-62 in the preliminary round of the Group A men’s tournament. The 57-point deficit registered as Team USA’s largest lead of the game.

The usual first-game jitters and lack of chemistry weren’t on display as much as they were in years past as the squad bullied its way toward a 30-10 first quarter advantage. Kevin Durant led the outfit with 25 on 10-14 shooting with six assists and two steals in, while DeMarcus Cousins added 17 points and five rebounds in limited minutes as the Mike Krzyzewski-coached group rolled.

Yi Jianlian led China with 25 points on 8-19 shooting, but no other player could manage double-figure points, as the team couldn’t get past its 15 first half turnovers (23 overall). Yi, the closest thing Team China has to an NBA talent (he was drafted sixth overall by the Bucks in 2007 and could be playing in the league right now had he continued to build on his raw talent) just could not consistently keep his teammates in it because of poor guard play and constant fouling.

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Yi’s crew is to be credited for keeping things relatively tight in the first half, as after an initial second quarter burst from Team USA the Chinese outfit brought the score down to 42-22 – negating any second period advantage to that point by the defending world champions. The starting backcourt of Klay Thompson and Kyrie Irving had a rough go of things in the first half, missing a combined seven of eight shots, while starting center Cousins was frustrated with two early fouls (five will foul you out in international play), but that did not get in the way of Team USA’s 59-30 lead at the half.

Kevin Durant paced the way for Team USA. (Getty Images)
Kevin Durant paced the way for Team USA. (Getty Images)

Durant led his team at the break with 17 points, hitting three NBA-sized 3-pointers (the international line is nearly two feet shorter) in one second-quarter stretch to keep Team China at arm’s length. The newest Golden State Warrior started the game with Irving, Thompson, Cousins and New York’s Carmelo Anthony.

None were on the court to start the second half, as a defensive-minded unit featuring Toronto teammates Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan in the backcourt with Jimmy Butler, Paul George and DeAndre Jordan up front took their spots. Jordan finished with seven points and seven rebounds, despite missing seven of 10 free throws, constantly acting as a fearsome (despite his failure to pick up an official block) force, perpetually shooting Team China out of the paint.

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In the end, 3-point shooting (10-23 from the starters, led by Durant’s 5-8) helped Team USA pull away in what turned into a 32-17 third quarter advantage, and its (not exactly seamless, but still devastating) ability to switch on just about every Team USA play helped the superior club pull away.

As will often be the case over the next few weeks for Team USA, it wasn’t a fair fight.

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Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don’t Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!