Loaded with NBA all-stars, the men's basketball team representing the United States is the favorite to win gold at the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
"We know what's our task at hand", veteran Carmelo Anthony said.
The U.S. men, who outscored their opponents by an average of 43 points in five exhibition games, will begin play Saturday against China, an exhibition opponent defeated by 49 and 50 points.
LeBron James and Chris Paul passed on searching for more gold with Durant and Anthony, and plenty more top players who would have been on this roster also declined. At this point, there's no discerning just how much the US will be tested in the medal rounds and no wondering how this squad measures up with Olympic teams of the past. They qualified somehow. We can't come out here and say, 'Oh, we're the United States and we're supposed to win, ' or 'We have this person and that person and we're supposed to win.' We have to be locked in every game. The Boomers jumped out to a 20-14 lead after one quarter, but Tony Parker led the French back into the game in the second, scoring his team's final 11 points of the half to cut the deficit to three heading into halftime. "You talk about a commitment", Krzyzewski said.
There is no guarantee that China will win but adjusting the offense to a more free-flow style, taking the most efficient shot rather the first shot available and making sure they secure rebounds. "When I saw my teammates get excited for me, that kept me going".
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The American lesson was supposed to have already been learned by then because of what happened two years before in Athens, when the bronze medal finish came as such a shock to the masses.
After pounding China by a combined 99 points in two exhibition games in July, the U.S. won 119-62 on Saturday in the Olympic opener for both teams.
The men's basketball team is made up of 12 NBA stars, and they've always had a tradition of lodging at expensive resorts since they were allowed to participate in the Olympics in 1992. "Coach K" was an assistant coach to the 1992 "Dream Team", the 1992 US men's Olympic basketball team, widely regarded as "the greatest sports team ever assembled". The AP reported Anthony tied LeBron James, who made a decision to skip these Games, and David Robinson by playing in his 24th game in the Olympics.
The Americans beat the Chinese twice in exhibition play by scores of 106-57 and 107-57, and this one was even less competitive.
Former NBA lottery pick Yi Jianlian had 25 points to lead China. "Thinking about watching the Dream Team play, watching these other teams, you have an opportunity to play, you figure, 'Wow, this is where other teams did it and where we could possibly do it.' It's mind-blowing". But for now, this is exactly the kind of lopsided performance everyone expected out of them.
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Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Kyrie Irving and the rest of Team USA will play China for a third time in roughly three weeks. The U.S. rang up 31 assists on 38 field goals and forced 24 turnovers.
The U.S. men have their first game on Saturday, when they'll face China.
The Americans closed the first quarter with a 26-6 burst to lead 30-10.
Zhou Ki will be the player to watch for Team China.
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