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After Cruising Rio, USA Basketball Hits the Hardwood

USA Basketball

The USA Basketball teams have found comfort off the court on their luxury ship, but now it is time to step on the court and show everyone why they are once again the favorites to win it all. Both the men and woman’s teams took to the court this weekend for their first round games each having impressive results.

It is no secret that some of the biggest names in men’s basketball are not in Rio, but that doesn’t change the goal; gold. There has been a lot of turnover on the team but that just mean the next generation is hungry to carry on a tradition of excellence. On Saturday the men faced off against China who offered little resistance getting steam rolled by 57 points. With the game never in doubt Team USA was able to relax and find their rhythm lead by Kevin Durant’s 25 points.

It was a good opening round game to have to get any, if any Olympic jitters out. Starting for the USA were Anthony, Cousins, Thompson, Durant and Irving leaving the likes of Green, Butler, D. Jordan and George coming off the bench. Following Durant, Cousins had 17 points while Anthony grabbed 7 boards. The USA will spend the next week rolling through Group A consisting of Australia, Serbia, China, France and Venezuela. Few of these team promise to offer a competitive game however Australia and France are littered with NBA talent and should be entertaining … at least for a half.

Not to be outdone the women’s team post a win of historic proportions. They took the court early Sunday afternoon versus Senegal and left with a victory and three Olympic records; margin of victory (65), points scored (121) and assists (36). “When you think about it, it’s really cool to know that history it went that far back and we were able to break it today in our first game,” Stewart said. “We hope to play even better in our next one.” The women are not expected to face much if any resistance on their march to gold and they are putting on a pure clinic.

On a team filled with WNBA MVP’s and All-stars the US started Maya Moore, Tina Charles, Brittney Griner, Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird. In case you wondered four of the five started suited up for Connecticut over the years. Scoring was pretty even across the board with Briana Stewart, Sylvia Fowles and Taurasi leading the way with 15 points each. Coming off the bench was last year’s MVP Ellena Delle Donne along with previous finals MVP’s Tamika Catchings and Simone Augusta.

While the US took the court to cheers the crowd tried desperately to spur on the team from Senegal with cheers every time they scored. The USA was expecting a less than favorable crowd having played in Sao Palo in 2006 the last time they lost a major game. “We played in Sao Paolo in the world championships and we played against Russia,” Bird said. “And it was in Brazil again and we lost that game, and the entire place was chanting Russia. I mean every single person. We’re used to that.”

The USA has nothing but winning on their minds and are looking to improve with every game they play. They just put everyone on notice. They will be tackling the teams in Group B consisting of Senegal, Canada, China, Spain and Serbia. They face Spain next which is anticipated to be a more competitive game but a victory is still expected.

Men’s Schedule

Monday August 8th – USA vs Venezuela 6:00pm
Wednesday August 10th – USA vs Australia 6:00pm
Friday August 12th – USA vs Serbia 6:00pm
Sunday August 14th – USA vs France 1:15pm

Women’s Schedule

Monday August 8th – USA vs Spain 11am
Wednesday August 10th – USA vs Serbia 2:30pm
Friday August 12th – USA vs Canada 2:30pm
Sunday August 14th – USA vs China 11:15am

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