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United States shakes off sluggish opening quarter, routs Venezuela

Basketball - Olympics: Day 3

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 08: Kyle Lowry #7, Paul George #13, Jimmy Butler #4, Demar DeRozan #9 and Draymond Green #14 of United States walk on the court during the Men’s Preliminary Round between the United States and Venezuela on Day 3 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Carioca Arena 1 on August 8, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

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The United States men’s basketball team, much like their female counterparts, are in a position where they can essentially name their score. While some other competing nations will certainly look to compete, the United States not winning the gold medal would be an incredibly large upset. That’s what made the first quarter of their game against Venezuela so interesting, with the South American team keeping pace to the tune of an 18-all tie through ten minutes.

Then the second quarter happened, with the Americans outscoring Venezuela 30-8 and going on to win by the final score of 113-69. Now 2-0 in group play, the United States has won those contest by an average of 50.5 points per game.

Paul George, who shot 6-for-7 from the field, led five Americans in double figures with 20 points on the night capped by a ferocious one-handed dunk with three minutes remaining in the game. Also reaching double figures were Jimmy Butler (17 points), Kevin Durant (16 on 5-for-5 shooting from the field), Carmelo Anthony and DeAndre Jordan (14 points apiece). As a team the United States shot 55 percent from the field (and 32-for-38 from the foul line) while limiting Venezuela to 34 percent shooting.

John Cox led Venezuela with 19 points and Gregory Echenique, who finished his collegiate career at Creighton, added 18 along with seven rebounds. Gregory Vargas scored ten points and David Cubillan, a college teammate of Butler’s at Marquette, finished with nine points.

The United States returns to the court Wednesday when they face Australia, which is also 2-0 in group play.