Good afternoon and welcome into NESN.com’s coverage of Team USA men’s basketball’s group-stage game against China. We’ll be providing live scoring updates, highlights and analysis throughout Saturday’s game, so be sure to keep it here for all of your USA Basketball coverage.
FINAL: USA 119, China 62.
The Americans earn their first two points in Group A.
Kevin Durant led the scoring with 25 points for Team USA, but it was a dominant showing — even at its lowest points — from start to finish. China had 24 turnovers, while USA had 19 assists on 38 made shots.
USA gathers at center court, waves to the crowd, and makes its way to the locker room. They’ll play again at 7 p.m. Monday versus Venezuela.
That’ll do it for our coverage of Team USA basketball tonight. Thanks for following along.
1:03: Coach K, Tom Thibodeau and Monty Williams could’ve suited up and hit the court for USA and it wouldn’t have made much of a difference in this one.
1:55: 53 point lead. USA is playing defense like it leads by one. That’s how they’re going to win this tournament.
3:22: USA leads 113-61. That’s 52 points for the mathematically challenged.
4:59: China just scored its 58th and 59th points of the game. That’s more than they scored in either exhibition game against USA last month.
The lead was 50 before that basket, though.
5:48: DeMarcus Cousins is really good at basketball.
He has 17 points now and is putting on a show in the fourth quarter.
7:21: The lead is up to 49. Durant exits the game with 25 points on 14 shots.
Barnes, DeRozan and George are back in the game.
8:52: Cousins is just bullying Chinese defenders in the paint.
9:06: Yi Jianlian could be a nice rotational player on an NBA roster. He has added a 3-point shot that he’s hit consistently Saturday and has a team-high 21 points.
10:00: We’re underway in the fourth, and the starters are on the court for the U.S.
End of third quarter: Team China just had its best quarter, yet Team USA still opened its biggest lead of the game and after three quarters leads by 44, 91-47.
Kevin Durant leads the way with 22 points. China has 20 turnovers.
1:40: Kyrie Irving, who didn’t score in the first half, has scored nine straight points for the Americans. He has hit four 3-pointers in this quarter.
2:41: 16-0 run for Team USA opens up its largest lead of the game, 84-40.
We’re seeing a preview of the 2016-17 Warriors, too: Draymond Green has a wide open look for a 3-pointer at the top of the key, a defender closes and Green kicks it quickly to Durant, who buries another trey of his own.
5:00: Things are looking sloppy here, and suddenly Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Carmelo Anthony and Klay Thompson are in the game. It could’ve been a normal substitution, but it’s probably a little bit of Coach K sending a message, too.
6:00: The referee cals China coach Gong Luming for a technical foul.
6:16: The lead is back to 30 points, 70-40 USA.
Draymond Green has entered the game for Paul George, but Coach K is giving his starters some extended rest on the bench.
7:00: China has come out with a different intensity in the second half, and the teams have traded baskets and seen some good defense. Zhou Qi, whom the Houston Rockets selected in the second round of the 2016 NBA Draft, has particularly played well. Former sixth overall pick Yi Jianlian has given the U.S. trouble all game, too.
10:00: We’re underway in the second half.
Coach K changes the lineup and goes with a defensive unit: Lowry-Butler-DeRozan-George-Jordan.
End of second quarter: They just showed a slow motion replay of Durant lobbing a ball over 24-year-old, 7-foot-2 Li Muhao’s head for an alley-oop to Jordan. Poor kid looked terrified.
At halftime, it’s 59-30 USA over China. Durant leads all scorers with 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting. Every American but Kyrie Irving scored.
The crazy thing? Take Durant and his points out of the game and the Americans still lead by double digits.
USA didn’t even really play well. The second unit in the second quarter looked sloppy. It’s crazy to think that a Lowry-Butler-DeRozan-George-Green lineup could play poorly, but they did.
The Americans are just that much better than their Chinese counterparts tonight.
:49: USA leads 57-30. In other news, fans are doing the wave and finally have something to cheer about.
2:00: Oh look, Harrison Barnes is in the game. Hadn’t noticed.
Should be a fun season in Dallas.
Team USA has played its entire roster in the first half.
3:07: Another one.
Durant has scored nine straight USA points. It’s 55-27. Let’s hope Xi Jinping doesn’t bring this up at the next NATO meeting.
3:42: Durant hits his first 3-pointer, then quickly follows with another and now has 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting.
4:33: Nothing exciting has happened, but here’s a look at those DeRozan dunks we mentioned.
5:33: Don’t look now, but China’s on a mini run.
They’ve outscored USA 7-2 in the last 70 seconds to cut the deficit to 20, 42-22.
6:40: Starters are back into the game for the U.S., so it appears Cousins is fine.
Kings fans collectively can let out that deep breath they were holding.
7:30: Just a few minutes into this quarter, China has scored half as many points as in the first. That would be encouraging if they weren’t already losing by 25.
It’s 40-15 USA.
7:36: 23-year-old Sui Ran might be on a poster soon.
DeRozan posterizes the young Chinese guard, plowing full steam ahead on the fast break. Lesson learned.
8:41: China hits a 3-pointer. That’s their first bucket in a while.
After a nice DeRozan alley-oop, it’s 36-13 USA.
10:00: Draymond Green sees his first game action, as he subs into the game for Jordan to begin the second. So it’s Lowry-Butler-DeRozan-George-Green out there to begin quarter No. 2.
A reminder: International basketball rules play just 10-minute quarters, unlike the NBA which has 12-minute quarters.
End of first quarter: USA 30, China 10
Butler finishes the quarter with a fast break layup, and the Americans finish the first 10 minutes in style.
USA ended the quarter on 26-6 run. Yikes.
:28: Oh look, a tip-slam for Jordan. Get used to that.
2:00: It’s 23-10 right now. There’s actually a bit of noise every time China scores a basket, but it might be more out of surprise than awe at this point.
2:49: Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry enter for Irving and Anthony, and then DeRozan subs in for Durant. Lots of rest for the deep USA squad.
4:35: China is already over the team foul limit. That didn’t take long.
Two free throws for George and Anthony, each, and USA leads 15-6.
5:07 — USA 13, China 4: The Americans are on a 9-0 run and force China into taking its first timeout.
Anthony hit a three, and Durant hit a long two, but Cousins seemed to get shaken up a bit and was holding a heating pad over his left quad on the bench.
Paul George and DeAndre Jordan enter the game for Cousins and Thompson, respectively.
6:07 — USA 8, China 4: Durant hits Cousins for a dunk, Anthony drives and overpowers a few defenders in the paint for two, and the Americans are getting into a groove.
7:22 — USA 4, China 2: The Americans finally hit a bucket. After missing their first five shots, Kevin Durant sinks a jumper from the left side of the hoop.
10:00: China wins the tip and we are underway Here are your starting lineups:
Kyrie Irving, PG
Klay Thompson, SG
Carmelo Anthony, SF
Kevin Durant, PF
DeMarcus Cousins, C
Zhao Jiwei, PG
Ding Yanyuhang, SG
Zhou Peng, SF
Yi Jianlian, PF
Zhou Qi, C
China gets two quick free throws and take a 2-0 lead. It could be their only one of the evening. DeMarcus Cousins quickly added two free throws of his own to tie the score at two.
5:55 p.m.: This is not your older brother’s Team USA basketball roster.
Carmelo Anthony is a seasoned vet at this point of his international career — when he hits the court Saturday, it’ll be his fourth Olympics. Kevin Durant is the only other member of the team with Olympic experience, meaning 10 of the 12 American players are first-time Olympians.
Pregame: The United States and China face off for the third time in the last few weeks, as the Chinese were part of USA’s warm-up exhibition tour last month. Play at the 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro kicks off Saturday.
Of course, a good day for Team China might not mean an actual victory, but a moral one. Team USA defeated China 106-57 and 107-57 in back-to-back games, an average margin of victory of 49.5 points. Yikes.
It was par for the course for the Americans, though, who in five games last month never won by fewer than 35 points and averaged 43 point victories.
In terms of scoring, it’s a fairly balanced attack for the U.S. team. Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving (20.3) and Golden State Warriors wing Kevin Durant (20.0) are the only two players who averaged 20 minutes per game in the warm-ups. Durant leads all scorers this summer with 15.3 points per game, followed by Warriors teammate Klay Thompson (14.3 ppg), New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (13.6) and Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (12.8) as the only players in double figures.
USA can go big or small, and though head coach Mike Krzyzewski has shown a tendency to stay big in the exhibition schedule, they won’t be afraid to utilize whichever lineup succeeds best.
China doesn’t feature any players on current NBA rosters, but a few have NBA ties.
We’ll have you covered with live updates and scores throughout the game, so be sure to keep it right here at NESN.com throughout the night for all of your USA Basketball needs.
Thumbnail photo via Jason Getz/USA TODAY Sports Images
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