USA Basketball won its first exhibition game in preparation for the 2012 London Olympics, beating the Dominican Republic 113-59 in a game played in Las Vegas, Nev.
Kevin Durant led the United States with 24 points and 10 rebounds. Durant came off the bench as Carmelo Anthony started instead of him and immediately made his presence felt scoring 11 points in the first quarter and going 3-for-3 from beyond the arc.
Durant ended up hitting his first five 3-pointers as he proved why he’s the perfect international basketball flavor.
“It felt good to me,” Durant said. “It was cool to come off the bench for the first time. Wherever they need that spark, I’m going to try to come out and give them that spark. So I was looking forward to having different roles playing with USA, so it was kind of fun for me, actually.”
The United States was not challenged in this game as their game plan of high-pressure defense on their opponent’s guards worked perfectly as they forced 25 turnovers in the game.
“Our ball pressure is ridiculous,” Paul said.”The amount of ball pressure we can put on guys, especially at the guard position with me , D.Will and Russ, and then Kobe and then all of those other guys, we should give everybody hell just about every night.”
The offense actually looked a little more shaky for the U.S. as everyone was playing a little too unselfishly. The United States went 13-for-33 on 3-pointers in the game with Andre Iguodala also catching fire from deep making four in the game.
The United States played a lot of really small lineups after Tyson Chandler got in some foul trouble. LeBron James and Durant were in together playing the four and five quite a bit, a lineup you have to think will get into trouble if they play Spain.
The other Thunder players Russell Westbrook and James Harden each played as well. Westbrook was a terror on defense and finished with six points and five rebounds. Harden struggled with his shot but still scored eight points.
The Dominican Republic had two NBA players on their roster, Al Horford and Francisco Garcia. Horford had seven points in the game and was 1-for-12 from the field. Garcia didn’t score and went 0-for-3 in nine minutes of action.
Team USA will play their next exhibition game Monday in Washington, D.C. against Brazil. The game will be on ESPN at 8 p.m. EST.