A pretty common theme you’ll hear during the Olympics is that Kevin Durant’s game is “built for international basketball.”
That’s actually completely wrong.
Because Kevin Durant’s game is built for basketball. Period. Anywhere you want to play it, under any set of rules. A guy 6-11 with that kind of handle, touch and ability to shoot is unfair, but even more so when you shrink the court, bring in the 3-point line and put players like LeBron James and Chris Paul around him to get him shots.
It’s becoming fairly routine for Durant to lead Team USA in scoring, which is what he did in Team USA’s opening demolition of France, 98-71. Durant finished with 22 points and eight rebounds, hitting 3-of-5 from 3, knocking down all seven of his free throws and scoring efficiently with only 13 attempts. It was kind of a typical Durant scoring night. The 22, which easily led all scorers, came fairly quietly as Durant methodically continued to score throughout his 28 minutes on the floor.
The other two Thunderers — James Harden and Russell Westbrook — played quality minutes with Westbrook seeing 19 minutes of action and Harden with 14. Harden was kind of seen as Team USA’s 11th man on the roster but with some early foul trouble he found himself on the floor with key first half minutes. He missed a couple open 3s, but was solid overall as he found a cutting LeBron with a nice no-look pass and fit in well. He finished with five points and an assists.
Westbrook was a touch erratic as he had one of those games where he appeared to have difficulty figuring out where he fit. He finished with nine points, three assists and four rebounds, but had a couple ugly turnovers and didn’t seem to be completely comfortable.
But late in the second half all three Thunder players were on the court, which was pretty special to see in an actual Olympic game. And in total, the Thunder accounted for 36.7 percent of Team USA’s points today. You’re welcome, America.
A few other thoughts:
- Westbrook committed one of the dumbest fouls I’ve ever seen. KD rejected a shot at the rim and with one on the shot clock, Westbrook lunged for the ball and fouled a French player who was chucking a halfcourt shot. It resulted in a 3-shot foul. Whoops.
- After the game, the entire team got in line and hugged Michelle Obama. After she hugged Harden, she patted his beard.
- KD’s shaved head completely threw me off.
- LeBron had a full court bounce pass between three defenders that hit KD completely in stride for a dunk. It’s one of the best passes I’ve ever seen.
Next up for Team USA: Tuesday against Tunisia.