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.
If Serena Williams is to win a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title at the French Open, she may have to go through her older sister in the fourth round.
Williams, the sixth seed, could play Venus Williams in the round of 16 at Roland Garros, which begins Sunday.
Serena opens against countrywoman Kristie Ahn, whom she beat in the first round at the U.S. Open. Serena could then get her U.S. Open quarterfinal opponent, fellow mom Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria, in the second round.
If Venus is to reach the fourth round, she must potentially get past U.S. Open runner-up Victoria Azarenka in the second round. Azarenka beat Serena in the U.S. Open semifinals, ending the American’s latest bid to tie Margaret Court‘s major titles record.
Venus lost in the French Open first round the last two years.
The French Open top seed is 2018 champion Simona Halep, who could play 2019 semifinalist Amanda Anisimova in the third round.
Coco Gauff, the rising 16-year-old American, gets 2019 semifinalist Jo Konta of Great Britain in the first round in the same quarter of the draw as Halep.
The field lacks defending champion Ash Barty of Australia, not traveling due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Also out: U.S. Open winner Naomi Osaka, citing a sore hamstring and tight turnaround from prevailing in New York two weeks ago.
Rafael Nadal was put into the same half of the French Open draw as fellow 2018 and 2019 finalist Dominic Thiem of Austria, with top-ranked Novak Djokovic catching a break.
Nadal, trying to tie Roger Federer‘s male record 20 Grand Slam singles titles, could play sixth-seeded German Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinals before a potential clash with Thiem, who just won the U.S. Open.
Djokovic, who is undefeated in 2020 save being defaulted out of the U.S. Open, could play No. 7 seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy in the quarterfinals before a possible semifinal with Russian Daniil Medvedev.
Medvedev is the fourth seed but is 0-3 at the French Open. Another possible Djokovic semifinal opponent is fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, who reached the fourth round last year.
The most anticipated first-round matchup is between three-time major champion Andy Murray and 2015 French Open champion Stan Wawrinka. In Murray’s most recent French Open match, he lost in five sets to Wawrinka in the 2017 semifinals.