Olympics: US NBA stars overcome slow start to rout Venezuela
RIO DE JANEIRO—Paul George scored 20 points and Jimmy Butler added 17 as the United States team of NBA stars routed Venezuela 113-69 on Monday (Tuesday, Manila) at the Rio Olympics.
George’s highlight reel-worthy slam dunk with 2:50 remaining in the fourth quarter brought the loudest cheers of the night.
Kevin Durant added 16 points and five assists while Carmelo Anthony and DeAndre Jordan each scored 14 points. Jordan added nine rebounds and Kyle Lowry had nine assists for the Americans.
Venezuela, with no NBA players, was level with the US NBA lineup at 18-18 after the first quarter.
The South Americans actually led the US millionaires by a point three different times as the NBA squad struggled with five early turnovers and missed free throws.
And Venezuela had given the US team its toughest test in pre-Rio warm-up games, even in an 80-45 defeat July 29 at Houston.
But the fairy tale dream faded quickly as the US team outscored Venezuela 30-8 in the second quarter for a 48-26 half-time edge.
Carmelo Anthony, trying to become the first man to win three Olympic basketball gold medals, scored 10 points in the period.
Chicago guard Jimmy Butler scored six points in the second quarter while Kyrie Irving, who played a key role in Cleveland’s run to this year’s NBA crown, and Jordan each added five.
Venezuela never came within 21 points in the second half.
There was also plenty of smooth passing and solid teamwork from the US lineup, a group that has not spent a full month together.
John Cox, a 35-year-old guard who led Venezuela with 19 points, is the cousin of Kobe Bryant.
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