The U.S. Olympic men's basketball team opened tournament play with a dominant 98-71 win over France on Sunday in game that wobbled during its first quarter.
Kevin Durant scored 22 points and LeBron James added eight assists as the Americans took aim at a second straight gold medal to match the one they won in Beijing four years ago.
The U.S. was never in real trouble despite some major foul issues and loose play. The superstar team eventually left France behind in the second half, according to an ABC report.
But this U.S. team will likely need to play better basketball in coming games to strike more gold for America.
Frances’ Tony Parker didn't want to concede anything, but when asked if the Americans can be beat, he took a contemplative pause before responding.
"They're going to be very, very tough to beat," Parker said.
Durant, Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler added nine rebounds apiece and Kevin Love finished with 14 points for the Americans. Tuesday, the U.S. will face Tunisia, beaten 60-56 by Nigeria in the tournament opener.
Parker, playing for France with goggles to protect a surgically repaired left eye, scored 10 points as France added a loss to their to 0-5 Olympic competition against the USA. Ali Traore led the French shooters with 12 points.
With the U.S. leading 52-36 at halftime, Durant opened the second half with a 3-pointer, Bryant dropped one from long range and James dunked a pass from Deron Williams, putting the Americans in a 64-43 lead.
The U.S. team's lead bounced again to 78-51 after three quarters, allowing Coach Mike Krzyzewski to rest Bryant, James and Durant for coming games. With the game under control, Krzyzewski gave 19-year-old Anthony Davis, the top pick in June's NBA draft, a taste of Olympic play.
Krzyzewski, who has a deep bench, was forced to go to it throughout the first quarter as the Americans racked up fouls.
Eventually the Americans got their rhythm and Bryant, James and Durant got comfortable shooting from beyond the arc. The trio finished with a combined 6 for 12 from three-point range while the rest of the U.S. went 2 for 13.