USA vs. France: Start Time, Live Stream, TV Info & Olympics Basketball Preview
The Olympic torch has been lit and the summer games are officially underway, with Team USA's quest for the gold medal in basketball starting against a deadly foe in France.
While the United States does have the most NBA players out of any team in the field with names like Kobe Bryant on its roster, France boasts the second-most league members and are led by NBA champion Tony Parker.
Parker is obviously the biggest name on the French side, but there are some familiar role players like Boris Diaw, Nicolas Batum and LeBron James' former teammate, Ronny Turiaf, on the roster. Again, not a star-studded lineup like Team USA, but one with players who are veterans in the world's best basketball league.
The United States did run the table in its exhibition matchups leading up to the London Games, but that didn't come without close calls. The team's most recent near-loss came against another team lead by a Spur in Argentina.
Manu Ginobili's team came within seven points of defeating the heavily favored United States and should serve as a prime example that the Olympic All-Star team that coach Mike Krzyzewski has built can be beaten. While his team will be the favorites against France, they'll need to play to the best of their ability in this first Olympic game.
Time & Date: Sunday, July 29, 9:30 a.m. ET
Television: NBC, NBC Sports Network
Live Stream: NBCOlympics.com
Location: Basketball Arena, Olympic Park, London, England
Key Player to Watch: Tony Parker
The French have the skill to potentially upset Team USA, but only if Parker is playing at an elite level. The San Antonio Spur needs to be calling the shots and directing traffic at point guard for his team while racking up a double-digit total in assists and points.
The French are no slouches at this game, with the team reaching the 2011 FIBA European Championship game. The way they were able to reach that final game was due in part to stellar play from Parker.
If he can channel some of that same energy and prowess that brought France success at the European level a year ago, this squad might start off the Olympic games by humbling their high-profiled opponents.
Most Important Matchup: Ronny Turiaf vs. Tyson Chandler
The biggest question heading into the games for Team USA has been whether Tyson Chandler is a talented enough big man to best what the other nations have to offer.
Turiaf isn't the more talented of the two and if Chandler wants to hush the naysayers at least until the next game, he'll need to impose his will on his French counterpart. This is a matchup that Chandler should thrive in, giving the United States a key advantage in the paint.
Both men are NBA champions, but there's a reason Turiaf only played three minutes in the Finals for the Heat while Chandler was a key part of the Mavericks' title back in 2011.
Prediction: USA 87 - France 85
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