US shakes off sluggish start, blasts Venezuela 113-69

Another game, another slow start for the United States, but in the end it was another blowout as they crushed Venezuela at the Rio Olympics.

"Once we settled down, made our adjustments to the way they were calling the game, the way that Venezuela wanted to play the game, that second quarter we picked it up defensively and turned it around", Anthony said.

"It is going to be a grind-out game, I'm looking forward to it", said American Kevin Durant.

Jordan's first Olympics experience took place while he was at North Carolina in 1984, and he later led the way for the 1992 Dream Team while with the Chicago Bulls.

After dismantling China to win their Olympic opener, Team USA Men's Basketball will be back in action Monday night. "We knew that they didn't want to play an up-tempo style game".

So yeah, Team USA better get better -especially Wednesday when it faces another 2-0 team in Group A pool play, Australia. "We try not to give them a chance to run because when they run they kill". The Aussies, featuring NBAers Andrew Bogut, Patty Mills and Matthew Dellavedova, beat Serbia, 95-80, Monday following their first game stunner of France.

Anthony, the four-team Olympian and two-time gold medalist playing in his record 25th game for the United States, provided a much-needed spark in the second quarter.

Paul George scored a team-high 20 points for Team USA, followed by Jimmy Butler (17) Durant (16), Anthony (14) and DeAndre Jordan (14). Australia, on the other hand, might actually make Team USA sweat if the US squad plays like they did through the first 15 minutes on Monday.

"Anytime you can break a record or make history or pass somebody like Michael Jordan ..." John Cox, who is a cousin of Kobe Bryant, had 19 points for Venezuela in the loss. All told, a 24-4 run blew the game open and the United States led 48-26 at the half.

With Brooklyn's Greivis Vasquez (foot) forced to pull out of the Olympics due to injury, Venezuela joins China as one of just two teams at these Games with no current National Basketball Association player on the roster.

Venezuela, which doesn't have an National Basketball Association player on its roster, didn't figure to be a threat but the FIBA Americas champion wasn't intimidated by the USA roster of household names and with their fans doing all they could to push the heavy underdogs, they outworked the Americans in the first quarter, which ended with the US committing six turnovers. After Gregory Echenique (18 points) scored for Venezuela at 7:31 of the second quarter, the lead for Team USA, favored by 50, was just 24-22.

"They have a lot of shooters, no?"

"Trying to defend these great players, it is impossible to keep the intensity the whole game", explained Venezuela coach Nestor Garcia.

Vanessa Coleman

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