Originally posted on NBA 24/7 365  |  Last updated 7/29/12

***Although he took just six shots, LeBron James left his fingerprints all over this game.  The King finished with eight assists, including a high-speed, no-look dish which whizzed past the head of Boris Diaw (video to be added if and when I can find it).  Oh, and then there was this one…

I imagine James would’ve finished with at least 10 helpers had Team USA been able to find the center of the rim in the first 20 minutes.  Also, Deron Williams had a slick behind-the-back drop pass to Kevin Durant in transition, but Durant was fouled as he attempted to dunk the ball.  Had the play been completed it may have been equally spectacular to LeBron’s.

***Kevin Durant (sans hair) finished as the game’s leading scorer with 22 points.  Kevin Love was the second-leading scorer with 14 while 6’9” big man Ali Traore led France with 12 (Traore was his team’s standout player, making a variety of pretty moves with his back to the basket).  Neither team shot the ball particularly well, but France was putrid from the outside (2-22 from three) despite being left open frequently.  USA was able to get into a rhythm in the second half as the game opened up and whistles became less frequent (30 fouls were called in the opening 20 minutes… let me assure you that the first half wasn’t easy on the eyes).  The 27 assists with which Team USA finished is an indication of how well they passed the ball.  Box Score.

***Doug Collins made a point about Nicolas Batum… something along the lines of “he has a tendency to blend in sometimes.”  This is one of the reasons I felt that Minnesota offered up too much money, and while one no-show in the Olympics obviously fails to prove anything, Batum went just 2-6 (0-4 from three) for 7 points and 2 rebounds today.  Only time will tell, but I don’t feel that his impact will ever justify an annual paycheck of 10 million dollars.

***Craig Sager, who looked totally out of his element reporting news in a bland blue polo shirt, provided us with some interesting insight between the first and second quarters.  Apparently, every member of Team USA was provided with a Molten FIBA basketball to practice with in the weeks leading up to these Olympic Games.  However, according to Sager, the balls that are actually used in the games are brand new, causing them to feel slick and overinflated.  Throughout the first half especially I took note of the NBA players from both teams looking noticeably uncomfortable with the ball in their hands.  Even elite ball handlers like Tony Parker and Chris Paul showed a bit of uncharacteristic clumsiness as they attempted to make moves.

***The starting guards of Team France (Nando De Colo and Tony Parker) committed a combined nine turnovers.  Team USA’s main focus has been to “cut off the head of the snake,” or to suffocate the opposition’s ball handlers.  Parker, one of the top guards in this tournament, had little impact on this morning’s contest.  Mission accomplished!

***Tyson Chandler (10 minutes), Carmelo Anthony (17 minutes), and Kevin Durant (28 minutes) had nine boards a piece as Team USA dominated the glass 56-40.  France isn’t a team with great size, so dudes were able to throw their weight around a bit when the whistle wasn’t blowing.  Tough to say how this type of rebounding effort will translate against bigger opponents what with all of the strange officiating that seems to go on.

***According to @ESPN_Numbers, Team USA is now 5-0 all-time against France in Olympic competition with an average margin of +30.2.  This basically sums it up: USA got off to a slow start but pulled away and dominated as they often do.

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