Team USA Basketball

USA vs France: Why USA's Dominant Win Has Gold Medal Implications

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 29:  Lebron James #6 of United States walks in front of his team durign a break in play against France 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
Justin WeltonAnalyst IIJuly 29, 2012

Team USA looked dominant in its 98-71 victory of France in its opening game on Sunday. After struggling in the first quarter, Team USA used a 26-point disparity in the second and third quarters to run away from France.

Although it was just one victory, Sunday's game has gold medal implications when the 2012 Summer Olympics come to a conclusion.

Here are three reasons why:

 

Confidence going forward

I know it's Team USA and I know Team USA should cruise through the majority of the 2012 Summer Olympics, but a victory to start a tournament is always a great thing. Not to mention that a 27-point victory is even better.

France isn't a team that is just another international side. Granted, France isn't a top-tier team in the world, but they are certainly on that next level down.

With guys like Tony Parker, Nicolas Batum and Boris Diaw, France is a team that will compete on most nights.

For Team USA to dominate the French like they did, even they will gain confidence from this victory.

Imagine if this victory was 10 points. Would you be feeling the same way you feel now? The Americans wouldn't feel that way either.

 

Balance

Kobe Bryant is shooting 20 times per game. Kevin Durant can get 20 without shooting 20 times per game. 

Team USA is using a balanced attack with no egos. Players are willing to eat minutes, pass up shots and play for the name on the front of the jersey, not the back. 

We saw it against France. Durant led the way with 22 points, but every other player chipped in with at least one point. 

That type of balance was something people wanted to see heading into the competition. Now that the United States proved they can share the ball, it only helps their confidence in that area going forward.

 

Kevin Love

Kevin Love has been under some scrutiny for his lack-luster performance and inability to get on the court. With his size and rebounding ability, Team USA needed a much better performance at the Olympics.

They got it on Sunday. Love scored 14 points while playing solid minutes.

With Love's ability to rebound down low given his size, Team USA will need him going forward. Love will be an important piece for Team USA, and this confidence-building performance will be one that resides throughout the tournament.

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