LOS ANGELES, CA – DECEMBER 25: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers sets up to make a move to the basket against LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat during the NBA game at Staples Center on December 25, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. The Heat defeated the Lakers 96-80. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Kobe Bryant; LeBron James
DeMar DeRozan scored 13 points in his hometown, and DeMarcus Cousins had 12 points and seven rebounds in another impressive performance to open the Americans’ pre-Olympic tour. While they’re still learning their teammates’ tendencies and solidifying player rotations, the newly assembled U.S. team looked remarkably cohesive for long stretches against an overmatched opponent with no current NBA players.
Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan scored 12 points and led a strong defensive effort with three blocks for the Americans, who held the Chinese to 30.9 percent shooting.
After opening their showcase tour by trouncing Argentina in Las Vegas on Friday night, the U.S. team posted another rout at a packed Staples Center.
The Americans haven’t lost a game since the 2006 world championships. They’re 47-1 in exhibitions since NBA stars took over the roster in 1992, going undefeated since 2004.
Jordan got the exhibition off to a rousing start with a blocked shot on China’s first possession and an alley-oop dunk on the other end for the Americans’ first points.
Both teams had early shooting struggles, but the Americans took charge with impressive speed late in the first quarter.
Durant, one of the two returning American gold medalists from London, heard boos from the LA crowd during pregame introductions. He quickly found his outside stroke with 14 points and four assists in the first half, and Cousins overpowered the Chinese down low for 12 first-half points on the way to a 55-29 halftime lead.
The Chinese team’s most recognizable name to North Americans is Yi Jianlian, the Milwaukee Bucks’ choice with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2007 draft. He spent five seasons with four NBA teams before heading back to the Guangdong Southern Tigers.
Yi led the Chinese with 18 points. Zhou Qi, the 7-foot-2 center drafted by the Houston Rockets in the second round last month, scored two points on 1-for-6 shooting. Exciting guard Zhao Jiwei scored 14 points.
The teams meet again Tuesday in Oakland, where Durant will play in front of his new home fans for the first time since defecting from Oklahoma City to the Golden State Warriors earlier this month.
They’ll also meet Aug. 6 in the opening game of Olympic competition in Brazil.
Clippers president/coach Doc Rivers said he expected all three of his 2016 draft picks to join the team this season.
But No. 39 pick David Michineau will remain in France.
Hyeres-Toulon Var Basket (ProA) inked 22-year old point guard David Michineau (191-94). He has played for the last two years at ES Chalon-Sur-Saone in the ProA.
Michineau is a 6-foot-4 point guard with some intriguing physical sills, but he’s not ready to run an NBA offense. Plus, the Clippers already re-signed Austin Rivers and signed Raymond Felton to back up Chris Paul.
The Clippers have one roster spot left. They’re better off using that on a veteran who can help now than Michineau.
“Toronto is not a team we’re worried about,” Crowder said.
Raptors forward DeMarre Carroll, via CSN New England:
“It’s a comment from a person who hasn’t really been in the playoffs that much. That’s how I reacted to that type of comment. When you haven’t been on that level and you don’t understand what it takes to get to that level. Myself going to back-to-back Eastern Conference Finals, I understand what it takes,”Carroll said on SportsNet.ca. “It’s a comment from a guy who hasn’t been on that level, who hasn’t played on that level. It sounds like a young comment.”
“We’ll let Jae Crowder do all the talking,” Carroll said. “We’ll just fly under the radar and do what we’re supposed to do.”
Carroll is right. Crowder has never won a playoff series — though I’m not sure advancing in the postseason will make him any less brash.
Carroll’s credentials here also aren’t impeccable. He helped the Hawks in 2015 and Raptors in 2016 make relatively uninspiring runs to the Eastern Conference finals.
Still, that’s more than Crowder has accomplished. If Carroll wants to use that experience to shoot back at Crowder, more power to him.
For what it’s worth, I’ll take the Celtics over the Raptors next season — though Toronto is close enough that Boston shouldn’t look past its neighbor to the north.
Argentina is back in the Olympics, and this time Scola isn’t just leading the basketball team.
He’s leading the whole delegation.
The veteran forward will carry the flag in the opening ceremony