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Team USA Basketball 2012: Stars Who Have Impressed Early in Tournament

Aidan MackieSenior Analyst IJuly 30, 2012

Team USA Basketball 2012: Stars Who Have Impressed Early in Tournament

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    Team USA's Olympic journey is off to a soaring start. 

    The Americans crushed a solid French team 98-71 on Sunday afternoon, solidifying themselves as favorites to capture gold in London. 

    The team put together a complete performance and everybody on the roster contributed in a positive way.

    However, it was the play of five special stars that were particularly impressive.

LeBron James

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    LeBron James continued his hot streak in games that matter. 

    The reigning NBA MVP did it all on the court on Sunday against France. 

    James distributed the ball to his fellow shooters all game long, allowing them to claim easy buckets. 

    The 27-year-old also provided Team USA with a solid rebounding presence. 

    James' final line looked like this: nine points on 4-for-6 shooting, eight assists, five rebounds and two steals in just 25 minutes. 

    The Miami Heat superstar was far-and-away the best player on the court all game long. 

Kevin Love

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    Kevin Love has been the United States' best big man early on in the tournament.

    The Timberwolves star was too much for the French to handle defensively. Love shot an impressive 5-for-8 from the field, including 1-2 from beyond the arc. 

    The UCLA product exploded for 14 points in just 14 minutes of playing time.

    Love also added three rebounds and a steal.

    It was Love's phenomenal offensive showing that allowed Team USA to jump out to a huge lead midway through the first half.    

Carmelo Anthony

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    Carmelo Anthony may not have had a repeat performance of his 27-point outing against Spain, but the Knicks star was still very impressive on Sunday.

    Anthony only shot 3-of-10 from the field, but he managed to contribute in other areas of the game.

    The 28-year-old thunderously crashed the boards, as he recorded an astonishing nine rebounds in just 17 minutes on the floor.

    Anthony also managed to play adequate defense against sharpshooter Nicolas Batum.

Kevin Durant

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    Kevin Durant was his typical self Sunday against France. 

    The 23-year-old star put together the most complete performance of any American player. 

    Durant went 6-for-13 from the floor and 7-for-7 from the free-line line, and he scored a team-high 22 points. 

    The reigning NBA scoring champion also notched nine rebounds, two assists, two blocks and two steals. 

    Durant carried Team USA's offense through stretches and proved why he is widely regarded as one of the top players on the planet. 

Tyson Chandler

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    After struggling mightily in Team USA's warm-up contests against Spain and Brazil, Tyson Chandler finally found his groove against France.

    The Knicks center crashed the boards consistently on both ends of the floor, claiming four offensive rebounds and nine total rebounds. 

    Chandler also contributed in the scoring and passing department, as he racked up eight points and three assists in just eleven minutes. 

    The 29-year-old was extremely impressive in Team USA's first game. He managed to dominate in the interior and keep the French big men neutralized.

    If Chandler can continue to play at this level, Team USA will be unstoppable.  

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