So far, the United States men’s basketball team’s pursuit of a third straight gold medal is going exactly how everyone thought it would. They opened group play on the first day of the Rio Olympics with a 57-point blowout win over a Chinese team they beat twice by similar margins during pre-Olympic exhibition play, a final score of 119-62.
Kevin Durant led the way for Team USA with 25 points in just 22 minutes, the most time any of the 12 USA players spent on the court. He was the only player on the team to crack 20 minutes and shot 10-for-14 from the field, including five three-pointers. Every player on the American team scored, and four reached double figures — Durant, DeMarcus Cousins (17), Paul George (15) and Kyrie Irving (12).
A bright spot for China on a day when they were completely out of their depth was Yi Jianlian’s 25 points in 30 minutes. China kept it close in the first few minutes, scoring the first basket of the game to lead 2-0 as the US got warmed up. But once Team USA’s shots started falling, they blew the game open early and never looked back.
The Americans’ next opponent, Monday’s matchup with Venezuela, doesn’t figure to be much more of a challenge than this. At some point in the later round, they may face a challenge from the likes of Spain, Australia or France. But for now, this is exactly the kind of lopsided performance everyone expected out of them.