US basketball men begin Olympic defence in style

US basketball men begin Olympic defence in style
By Eurosport

30/07/2012 at 01:45Updated 30/07/2012 at 12:24

The US men's basketball team launched their Olympic title defence with a joyful display of high-flying skill, soaring past France 98-71 on Sunday.

No-look assists, alley-oop passes for thunderous dunks and sublime ball-handling drew 'ooh's and 'ah's from a packed Olympic Basketball Arena crowd on the opening day of action in the men's basketball tournament.

EuroBasket silver medallists France, whose preparation for the Games was hampered due to problems with several of their top players, kept it close in the early going before the US team cut loose.

The Americans blew it open after a 22-21 first quarter by scoring the first 11 points of the second quarter and then raised their game even higher.

Kevin Durant led the way with 22 points, with Kevin Love coming off the bench to contribute 14 inside points.

Ali Traore led France with 12 points, and Tony Parker scored 10.

LeBron James only put nine points on the scoreboard, but had a hand in a number of highlight moments, making a jaw-dropping bounce pass through traffic covering two-thirds of the court to hit Kevin Durant going to the basket.

After one nifty, no-look drop off pass from James Harden, "King" James finished at the hoop with a ferocious slam that moved him to hang swaying from the rim for an extra few seconds to celebrate.

Next up for the US team will be Tunisia, while France play a key game against Argentina on Tuesday.

Basketball results:

Russia 95-75 Britain

Spain 97-81 China

Brazil 75-71 Australia

Argentina 102-79 Lithuania

United States 98-71 France

Nigeria 60-56 Tunisia