July 19, 2024

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USA Men’s Basketball Team Easily Beats Canada in First Look Before Paris Olympics

USA Men’s Basketball Team Easily Beats Canada in First Look Before Paris Olympics

LAS VEGAS – The U.S. men’s basketball roster for the Olympics is an embarrassment. With a slew of Hall of Famers and future NBA stars, the group will enter the 2024 Paris Games as the favorite to win a fifth straight gold medal.

With former U.S. President Barack Obama sitting in the courtside seats, the U.S. team showed why in an 86-72 win over Canada in an exhibition game Wednesday at T-Mobile Arena.

Anthony Edwards led the United States with 13 points, going 6-of-10 from the field. Steph Curry added 12 points and made three three-pointers. Anthony Davis shined in the penalty box with 10 points and 11 rebounds, while LeBron James scored 7 points, going 3-of-7 from the field.

RJ Barrett had 12 points and 5 rebounds for Canada.

“It was a good first game for us,” said U.S. coach Steve Kerr. “We were just getting started — four days of practice. You could see the rust on the offensive side with a lot of mistakes in that first half especially. But I liked that defensive intensity and the work on the glass. It was a good first try and we needed to set a tone for how we were going to play and I think we did that.”

It took some time for the Americans to find their rhythm early in the match. Despite the sheer amount of talent on the pitch, this was their first competitive match as a team – and it showed.

Bad mistakes and missed shots allowed Canada to open the game with an 11-1 lead.

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The Canadian team was unable to score until about five minutes into the game when Curry made a three-pointer. Canada led 21-14 after the first quarter.

But the struggles didn’t last long. The Americans started the second quarter with a seven-point lead and never looked back. Their second line of defense, led by Edwards and Davis, was a key factor in turning things around.

“It was a slow start, which isn’t surprising since we just started here, but I liked the second set,” Kerr said. “Then the defense, they picked up the pace for us in transition, made some good plays there to really get our offense going, and that got us into the game.”

USA Basketball, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary this summer, paid tribute to its legends by calling out members of medal-winning teams during the break. Among those in attendance in Las Vegas were Patrick Ewing, John Stockton, Grant Hill, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony.

Obama, who spoke with the team before the game, also received loud cheers as he headed to his seat on the floor.

The former president was “really inspiring with his words,” Carey said.

“It was great to go on this trip to celebrate 50 years of MLB and what we’re trying to do this summer,” Carey said. “I got goosebumps when he spoke. It makes you feel good about who you represent.”

The United States will begin its gold medal campaign on July 28 against Serbia, which includes former NBA star Nikola Jokic. Unlike Wednesday night, this will not be an easy match for the United States.

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James said that cohesion will come in due time.

“It’s easy to work together when you have a common goal, and our common goal is to play hard and win the gold medal. It won’t take long,” he said.