Team USA Basketball looked to improve to 2-0 in the Rio Olympics after a dominating victory against China.
Team USA Basketball overmatched the Venezuelan team, again.
After defeating China on Saturday, Team USA Basketball looked to build on their momentum against Venezuela. However, Monday’s game for Team USA got off to a slow start once again. The first quarter of the USA matchup against Venezuela was filled with whistles, as referees called two early fouls on DeMarcus Cousins and Klay Thompson. Cousins and Thompson had to be replaced just five minutes into the game, by DeAndre Jordan and Paul George, respectively.
Kevin Durant got the United States started with seven of their first 10 points. But Team USA played sloppily throughout the first quarter, missing open shots and turning the ball over five times in the first eight minutes. To their credit, the Venezuelans actually held a 16-15 lead at one point. Venezuela tied the score at 18 to end the first quarter.
Team USA’s shooting struggles continued into the second quarter. With six minutes left in the first half, Thompson air-balled a three-point attempt, which drew a negative reaction from the crowd. The United States also struggled with turnovers. Midway through the second quarter, Team USA turned the ball over 8 times. This comes on the heels of Saturday’s game, in which the Americans turned the ball over just 9 times in the entire game.
8 Points, 9 Seconds
The United States finally gained some momentum when Carmelo Anthony hit a three pointer to put Team USA up by 9. In the second quarter, Anthony surpassed Michael Jordan for third on the Olympic All Time scoring list, with 258 points scored in his Olympic career. With Venezuela struggling to score, Team USA Basketball chipped away on offense and built on their lead.
By cutting down on turnovers in the second quarter, Team USA Basketball began to pull away. They outscored Venezuela 30-8 in the second quarter and took a 48-26 lead into the halftime break.
Team USA Basketball lacked rhythm offensively for much of the day. After a tough personal performance on Saturday, Thompson continued his struggle against Venezuela. However, Team USA was aided on the scoreboard by the fact that Venezuela couldn’t get much of anything going. Team USA Basketball didn’t put on a flawless offensive performance, but it wasn’t needed to get the victory. Team USA Basketball took a controlling 75-51 lead into the fourth quarter.
Venezuela played hard into the fourth quarter, but the game had already been decided. There was no quit in the Venezuelan team, but they simply could not score enough to keep pace with Team USA Basketball.
As a team, the United States got off to a slow start, but pulled away, by outscoring Venezuela 95-51 over the final three-quarters. Cousins got into early foul trouble, and fouled out with four minutes remaining in the game. Draymond Green, Thompson, and Harrison Barnes struggled to make an impact. However, players such as George and Jordan played extremely well off the bench. George led Team USA Basketball with 20 points.
Team USA Basketball did enough to win against an overmatched Venezuela team. The United States won by a large margin, running away with a 113-69 victory. But the offense seemed out of sync early in the game. Team USA is in great shape as it pertains to the rest of their group.
Team USA Basketball will face a bigger test against Australia on Wednesday night.