Olympic Basketball 2012: What We Learned from USA vs. France

Steven Gerwel@Steve_GerContributor IIIJuly 30, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 29: Kevin Durant #5 of United States looks on during their Men's Basketball Game on Day 2 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Basketball Arena on July 29, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Team USA is expected to dominate throughout the 2012 London Olympics. So far they haven't disappointed the fans. 

In the preliminary round of the Olympics, USA opened against France and they were naturally considered the heavy favorites. 

France has five NBA players on their roster, including four-time All-Star and three-time champion Tony Parker, so the game wasn't one to take lightly, even if France was heavily outmatched. 

The Americans were never overwhelmed at any point and maintained a comfortable lead. At halftime, the score was 52-36, and the final score was a convincing 98-71. 

Parker had to wear protective goggles throughout the game in order to protect a surgically-repaired left eye that was injured in a bar fight a month ago (according the ESPN). Perhaps the limitation was one of the reasons for France's lopsided deficit. 

For the USA, Kevin Durant led the way with 22 points, while Kevin Love followed with 14. Durant and Carmelo Anthony both had nine rebounds and LeBron James finished with eight assists. 

The first game clearly went as planned, but have we learned from this game? 


Kevin Durant Can Carry This Team Too

Obviously, Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder is a superstar and was the centerpiece of a team that made a great run to the NBA Finals. 

So his brilliance is not exactly subtle or unnoticed, but still, he doesn't get the same amount of attention as LeBron. 

LeBron has been the talk of Team USA and is always a hot topic for the media, especially since he's coming off his first NBA Championship. 

But Durant, as we saw today, is worthy of that attention as well. He's more than capable of carrying this team and earning them a gold medal. 


Anthony Davis' Playing Time Won't Increase

For those of you who were anxious to get a sneak peek at the No. 1 overall pick of the draft, you'll have to wait until he's in New Orleans. 

It was somewhat of a surprise since he's the only player on the USA roster who has yet to play in the NBA, but his raw talent certainly explains the logic behind the move. 

Davis received very limited playing time against France, despite their merciless lead. 

If you thought his playing time might increase as the Olympics progress, then think again. He's remaining on the bench until the game reaches garbage time. 


USA Still Needs To Increase Their Focus

Team USA has received non-stop comparisons to the 1992 Dream Team, so the ego boost is clearly there. 

Not only that, but the team consists of professional athletes who make millions of dollars. 

Surely the Olympics has some sort of meaning for the players, and surely they're eager to win a gold medal. But it's likely easy for them to get distracted. 

For proof, just look at the first period against France and the six missed three-pointers. 

Their focus returned as the game progressed, but they need to enter the games with their heads in the right place.