The U.S. men’s basketball team, possibly the strongest assembly of hoops talent since the 1992 Dream Team, beat France as expected.
France held tough in the first quarter, mostly because the U.S. men committed a lot of fouls and missed a lot of three-point attempts and foul shots. The quarter ended with the U.S. ahead by only a point, 22–21.
France blocked a lot of shots in the first quarter; as the French squad had a considerable advantage in height this was not surprising.
The U.S. men settled down for the second quarter and started with an 11–0 run with three buckets from behind the arc. The team also stopped fouling; with the game going end-to-end instead of half-court, the U.S. men were in their element. France’s chances were gone by halftime—the score was 52–36 USA after two.
The French team didn’t play badly. They simply didn’t have the combined talent of the NBA’s best, despite having a few NBA stars of their own.
USA led 78–51 at the end of the third; the only thing holding up the U.S. juggernaut after that was the refereeing: the refs called the U.S. stars according to basketball rules, not the somewhat looser rules applied in the NBA to its star players. Traveling and carrying calls—something many of the U.S. players had probably never seen in the NBA—slowed down the U.S. attack; the French defense couldn’t.
Kobe Bryant and LeBron James spent a lot of the final quarter resting comfortably on the bench while coach Mike Krzyzewski tried to give court time to all his players.
The U.S. ended up winning by 27, 98–71. After the buzzer, the team went to the sidelines to get congratulatory hugs from First Lady Michelle Obama, something which probably won’t be happening at any NBA games.
The U.S. men didn’t play perfectly as a team—the short time they have had together showed in the number of turnovers; they made up for it with individual efforts. As they practice together more, their power will only increase.