US NBA stars rip France in opener

With US First Lady Michelle Obama and a host of top US Olympic athletes watching them, the American collection of NBA stars sent a message to Olympic rivals -- we're ready for you.

Kevin Durant scored 22 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead the United States over France 98-71 on Sunday in their opening game of Group A round-robin play at the Olympic men's basketball tournament.

"It was important for us to come out and make a statement for ourselves," US guard Chris Paul said. "We are the most talented team on paper. You don't win a game on paper."

After the victory, US players traded hugs with Obama, who had also watched them in a pre-Olympic exhibition game in Washington. Also in the stands were some US Olympians who were not competing on Sunday.

"We're representing all the country," US playmaker LeBron James said. "We understand that every time we step on the floor, it's about the name on the front of the jersey (USA) not the one on the back (of a player)."

Kevin Love added 14 points for the NBA multi-millionaire squad while Kobe Bryant had 10 points. James and Carmelo Anthony each had nine as the Americans rose to 55-1 since revamping the team after taking bronze at the 2004 Olympics.

"It's a huge responsibility," Paul said of defending 2008 Olympic gold. "We don't take that lightly. We know about what we're here for. That's what makes this special."

For spectators, what made the game special were some spectacular slam dunks and fast breaks by the US stars, especially from Durant, the reigning NBA scoring champion.

"We just played with attitude, fighting for each ball, defending hard and getting every rebound," Durant said. "That's how we beat teams that are hard to beat. We just have to play hard and we'll be fine. "

Durant produced two electrifying back-to-back slam dunks in the early minutes -- one off a half-court-length pass from James in a game that became a romp after the opening quarter.

"I threw it because I could get it to him," James said. "He got it with one hand, dribbled it and finished it off.

"KD is on this team for a reason. We don't need him to be reserved."

The US NBA stars led only 22-21 after the first quarter, but began the second quarter with an 11-0 run, stretching the margin to 12 points and keeping the French fighting an uphill battle.

"Defence is our strength. I'm glad we could take advantage of it," James said. "We've still got room for improvement. We had too many turnovers (14). We can cut down on the fouls (26). We can get more rebounds (56)."

The Americans pulled ahead 52-36 by half-time and from there it was simply a dominant US side flexing its muscles to the finish.

"The first half they were able to slow the game down," Anthony said. "The second half we were able to shut them down."

In their first Olympic meeting since the US squad outlasted France 85-75 in the 2000 Sydney final, the Americans served notice by half-time that this matchup would not have such drama in the final minutes.

"It seems like we get better as the game progresses. We have to get better at the start," Paul said. "We learned a lot of different things about how the game will be officiated. You have to adjust every game."

Ali Traore led France with 12 points while San Antonio Spurs playmaker Tony Parker added 10 in a losing cause.

"USA played a great game, especially defensively," Parker said.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Sandigan OKs hospital stay for GMA co-accused
    Sandigan OKs hospital stay for GMA co-accused

    The Sandiganbayan has allowed a government official, accused with plunder along with former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to undergo a medical procedure at a hospital tomorrow. The anti-graft court permitted former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) board member Benigno Aguas to undergo a cardiopulmonary/endocrine clearance at the St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City. …

  • Sandigan recommends executive clemency for ex-envoy
    Sandigan recommends executive clemency for ex-envoy

    The Sandiganbayan has recommended executive clemency for a former Philippine ambassador to Nigeria who was sentenced to 52 years for malversation of public funds. The Sandiganbayan First Division found Masaranga Umpa guilty of misusing the Assistance-To-Nationals Stand-by Funds totaling $80,478.80 in 2007, but the anti-graft court said the former assemblyman from Lanao del Norte should be pardoned. …

  • Stargazing at the mall highlights Earth Hour
    Stargazing at the mall highlights Earth Hour

    It was a night of stargazing in 58 SM Supermalls all over the country last night as these establishments participated in Earth Hour, an annual worldwide movement encouraging communities and establishments to switch off lights for one hour to raise global awareness of overuse of non-renewable resources. The Philippines has been an active participant of Earth Hour since 2008. Last night, in the province of Bulacan, for instance, all parishes, diocesan institutions, schools and household …

  • Payanig privatization hit
    Payanig privatization hit

    BLEMP Commercial of the Philippines, Inc. (BLEMP) denounced the recent announcement of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) to privatize the 18.4-hectare “Payanig sa Pasig” property. In a statement sent to The STAR, BLEMP lawyer Dennis Manalo said the PCGG has no right to auction the property because it has no valid title and is not in possession. The PCGG has not paid a single centavo in real property taxes for the property, he said. He narrated that it was in the early 70s …

  • New species of tarantula found
    New species of tarantula found

    Scientists from the Museum of Natural History (MNH) of the University of the Philippines-Los Baños have discovered a new species of cave-dwelling tarantula on an island off the coast of Quezon. The new species of the spider, Phlogiellus kwebaburdeos, was described in the recent issue of the Philippine Journal of Systematic Biology by MNH curators for spiders Aimee Lynn Dupo and Alberto Barrion along with their former student Joseph Rasalan. The tarantula was discovered by Rasalan during one …

  • Palm Sunday: Do not add to suffering of others
    Palm Sunday: Do not add to suffering of others

    As Christendom enters Holy Week today, Palm Sunday, an official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) yesterday called on the faithful not to add to the sufferings of their fellowmen. Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Public Affairs (ECPA), said that while Palm Sunday is oftentimes remembered as the glorious arrival of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, it also signals the start of the Holy Week that tells of His suffering, death and …

  • Miriam pushes tougher graft law
    Miriam pushes tougher graft law

    Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago has filed a bill that would make public officials liable for violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act even if they are elected to a fresh term or a new position. In filing Senate Bill 2716, Santiago sought to address what she said was the doctrine of condonation in Philippine jurisprudence brought about by the 2010 case of Salumbides vs. Ombudsman. “By merely asserting the doctrine of condonation, erring elective officials are automatically given a …

  • Phl hits back at China over sea infra work
    Phl hits back at China over sea infra work

    The Philippines assailed China yesterday for contesting Manila’s planned repair and maintenance works on some islands in the West Philippine Sea, saying they are “in no way comparable” to the Asian power’s massive reclamation activities which are in violation of international laws. “The Philippines’ possible undertaking of necessary maintenance and repairs on its existing facilities in the West Philippine Sea, over which the Philippines rightfully exercises sovereignty, sovereign rights and …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options