SAN FRANCISCO — The USA, hitting its stride ahead of its bid for a third straight Olympic men’s basketball gold, put on another master class Tuesday in a 107-57 exhibition victory over China in Oakland, California.
The rout was a coming out party for Kevin Durant at Oracle Arena, home of his new team the Golden State Warriors.
Durant rocked the NBA with his decision to forsake the Oklahoma City Thunder for the Warriors as a free agent, and he received a rapturous welcome from his new home fans.
“KD” received a thunderous ovation during the pre-game introductions — the cheers reverberating even longer than those for established Warriors stars Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.
Durant drained a three-point jump shot seven seconds into the contest and followed that with a dunk as he scored the first 10 points for the Americans.
He finished with 13 in a game in which the US took charge just as firmly as they had in a 106-57 win over China in Los Angeles Sunday.
“It was amazing. The atmosphere was great, energy was great. The fans showed me major love, so I appreciate that,” Durant said. “It was good to get out there in front of them and play well.”
DeMarcus Cousins led the US with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Carmelo Anthony, at 32 the oldest man in the squad and a veteran of their last two victorious Olympic campaigns as well as a bronze-medal showing in 2004, added 20 points, 16 of them in the third quarter.
The Americans connected on precisely half their shots, 36 of 72, from the field and held China to 40 percent shooting.
The two teams will meet in earnest on August 6 in Rio de Janeiro, in the Olympic opener for both.
Zhou Qi, the towering 2.17m (7ft 1in) 20-year-old drafted in June by the Houston Rockets, bounced back from a two-point effort on Sunday to lead China with 13 points.
Zhou Peng and Guo Ailun chipped in 11 apiece. Yi Jianlian, the most recognizeable of China’s current players in North America thanks to five seasons in the NBA, didn’t play after leading China with 18 points Sunday.
Booed in Los Angeles a couple days back, Durant received a far friendlier reception in the Bay Area he will now call home. He emerged for pregame warmups to huge roars. He departed the court before the game to a swarm of autograph hounds hanging over the railings in the tunnel — and kindly obliged. One person held a sign that read, “KD is not a Villain.”
“Certainly you wouldn’t want to be introduced after KD in line,” said coach Mike Krzyzewski, noting Durant’s big defensive strides. “The crowd, the welcoming for Kevin was fantastic. I know he appreciated it very much.”
Durant received a rousing standing ovation when introduced along with Warriors All-Stars Draymond Green and Klay Thompson.
The United States continue its warm-up tour Friday against Venezuela, which is drawn in the same Olympic first-round group with the US, China, Australia, France and Serbia.
The Americans will play Nigeria in Houston Monday before heading to Rio.