Venezuela’s 113-69 loss Monday highlighted something everyone watching the Rio Olympics already knew: It takes more than a good quarter to beat Team USA.
Working strictly in theory because no one has come close to knocking off the Americans in these Olympics, the hypothetical list of required upset ingredients probably includes an anti-gravity ray, Stickum, last-second rule changes making three-pointers illegal and, likely, divine intervention.
Even then, a team as short on talent and scoring as Venezuela still wouldn’t have enough to finish the drill.
But maybe the particulars of Venezuela’s 18-18 first-quarter draw on Monday could be instructive for a more skillful and ambitious opponent.
Venezuela mucked up the game in that first quarter, deliberately using as much shot clock as possible on offense and forcing both teams into half-court play. Team USA’s athleticism gives it major advantages at any pace, but forcing gridlock at least prevents the tidal wave of U.S. transition points that come in an uptempo contest.
DJ finished with 14 points and nine rebounds, joining Carmelo Anthony (14), Kevin Durant (16 on 5-of-5 shooting) and George (20) in double-figure scoring.