Team USA beats Canada in exhibition match held in preparation for Olympics

Team USA beats Canada in exhibition match held in preparation for Olympics

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LAS VEGAS — The road to the Paris Olympics has started with a victory for U.S. basketball.

Anthony Edwards scored 13 points, Stephen Curry added 12 and the United States beat Canada 86-72 on Wednesday night to open its schedule for the Paris Games.

Jrue Holiday scored 11 points and Anthony Davis had 10 for the U.S. The team has four more appearances to make before arriving in France.

RJ Barrett scored 12 points for Canada, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Dillon Brooks added 10 each.

President Barack Obama was present at the game, as well as several NBA coaches and dozens of USA Basketball dignitaries who were in town for the federation's 50th anniversary celebration. Among them: Jerry Colangelo, Mike Krzyzewski, Jim Boeheim, Dwayne Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Dawn Staley, Lisa Leslie, Teresa Edwards, Swin Cash, Lindsay Whalen and many others.

USA Basketball reported that total attendance was 20,757, a record for any game at T-Mobile Arena.

cold start

The US trailed 11-1 midway through the first quarter as it missed its first six shot attempts. The rest of the half: the US made 40, Canada 22, and the Americans made 18 of 28 shots in that period – 64.3%. The lead was 41-33 at the break and the Americans extended it to 69-54 in the fourth quarter.

It was easy to see that the Americans, who have been together for less than a week, are still figuring things out; there were at least four occasions when ordinary passes ended up in the first row of seats because someone thought a zig was coming instead of a zag.

Second Unit

The second unit for the US – Anthony Davis, Bam Adebayo, Anthony Edwards, Tyrese Haliburton and Jayson Tatum – was particularly impressive. Each of these five players had a plus-minus of plus-10 or better, meaning the US outscored Canada by at least 10 points.

And that's the way it should be. Only the Americans can field a lineup of “bench players” at the Olympics, all of whom are All-Stars. That five players include 21 combined All-Star players, two NBA champions in Davis and Tatum, and two all-time All-Defense players in Davis and Adebayo. This is clearly not a typical second unit.

Oh, and remember: The U.S. didn’t have Kevin Durant (hamstring) and Derrick White (not with the team yet) available on Wednesday.

For starters

The first starting lineup of the summer was announced by U.S. coach Steve Kerr: Stephen Curry, Jrue Holiday, Devin Booker, LeBron James and Joel Embiid.

Of course, this may change in the future. But if we look at last year's statistics, it clearly reflects Kerr's current thinking.

Kerr has cautioned before not to think too much about lineups, especially from the first scrimmage. That said, the first five players he had in the first exhibition game before the World Cup last summer — Mikal Bridges, Jalen Brunson, Jaren Jackson Jr., Brandon Ingram and Anthony Edwards — were the starters in the tournament opener against New Zealand.


The United States will face Australia on Monday in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

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