The guys took it home with a 98-71 defeat against France in the preliminary rounds of the games.
It was a victory worth celebrating for Mrs. Obama. She congratulated each of the players and took time to embrace them all as well as the coaches.
“It was a very special moment,” Carmelo Anthony says. “For her to be sitting over there and supporting us, we just wanted to thank her for coming.”
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San Antonio Spurs’ Tony Parker, playing with goggles (for France) to protect a surgically repaired left eye, scored 10 points but France, which trailed by just one point after the first quarter, fell to 0-5 in Olympic competition against the USA. Ali Traore led the French with 12 points.
With the U.S. leading 52-36 at halftime, Durant opened the second half with a 3-pointer, Bryant dropped one from long range and after James dunked an alley-oop pass from Deron Williams, the Americans led 64-43.
The U.S. team’s lead ballooned to 78-51 after three quarters, allowing coach Mike Krzyzewski to rest Bryant, James and Durant for most of the fourth quarter. With the game well in hand, Krzyzewski even gave 19-year-old Anthony Davis, the top pick in June’s NBA draft, his first taste of Olympic play.
The U.S. will next play Tuesday against Tunisia, which lost to Nigeria 60-56 in the tournament opener.