The second exhibition for USA Basketball leading up to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games took a little while to get off the ground, but once Team USA got going against China, predictably it got out of hand. The Chinese National Team was able to play defense and contribute to the slow start from the United States.
It took over four minutes before Team USA scored its second basket of the night to take a 4-2 lead. It would be another minute or so until Klay Thompson hit his team's first 3-pointer of the contest to take a 7-4 lead, but over the final 3:37 of the first quarter, USA Basketball outscored China 19-6 to distance themselves for good. From there, the United States dominated both ends of the floor, pushing the lead to more than 50 points in the second half.
Team USA won 106-57 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, just covering the minus-48.5 point spread from Las Vegas.
So what can you learn from a dominant exhibition game like this? Here are five takeaways from the night:
We have new Splash Brothers in international competition
The two leading scorers for Team USA were new Golden State Warriors teammates Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant. KD was the leading scorer for the second straight exhibition this weekend after pacing the United States with 23 points in almost 21 minutes Friday against Argentina. Durant wasn't quite as lethal against China but still led the way with 19 points in 18 minutes.
Thompson was right behind him with 17 points, and both players hit four 3-pointers. Durant was 5-of-7 from the field and 4-of-5 from downtown while Thompson was 6-of-10 from the field and 4-of-8 from deep. Klay's first made 3-pointer of the game came on a pass to the wing from Durant, so the chemistry on the court is already picking up.
Stephen Curry opted out of the Olympics this year, so Durant has become the adopted Splash Brother filling in for his new teammate. It almost seems unfair to pair the two against international competition, but that's for the rest of the world to figure out. Just don't look at Draymond Green's contribution (zero points, three turnovers, two rebounds, one assist in 14 minutes), who struggled for the second straight exhibition.
This may have actually been a good test in terms of style of play for Team USA
I'm not sure how much China was able to truly test the red, white and blue jerseys because this was a blowout for almost the entire game. By the second half, this was just about whether Team USA could actually win by 50 points or more. However, China tried to pressure the ball against the United States for a good chunk of the first half and even into the second half. China didn't have the quickness and athleticism to keep up with the style of defense, but it was a good reminder that some countries may try to make the United States uncomfortable with some full-court pressure as a desperation tactic.
And Team USA will have to be able to handle the pressure. China forced one more turnover (13) than Argentina did on Friday, so it worked a little bit. Without guys like Chris Paul and LeBron James to calm down the control of the game, other guards and initiators will have to make sure to elevate their patience in the attack.
Hard to tell if it's good defense or bad offense but it's probably both
China struggled shooting the ball the entire game. Some of that has to be a lack of shooting ability, especially when their best scorer and former NBA lottery pick Yi Jianlin goes 4-of-14 from the field on his way to 18 points. A good chunk of that poor shooting also comes from Team USA clamping down defensively and forcing China into tough scoring situations. China turned the ball over 26 times, which looks bad until you see they shot just 30.9 percent from the field and 31.6 percent from 3-point range.
Only two players for China shot 50 percent or better from the field. Ding Yanyuhang went 2-of-4 from the field for seven points. Zhao Jiwei shot 6-of-10 from the field for 14 points. China did get to the free throw line 21 times, so perhaps the defense can tighten up in how much they're fouling the opponent.
DeAndre Jordan felt right at home at Staples Center ... sort of
DeAndre Jordan had the first hoop of the game on an alley-oop from Kyle Lowry, which was probably a nice way to christen the Staples Center's hosting of the exhibition. The Los Angeles Clippers big man had a nice game of 12 points, five rebounds, three blocks, two steals and two assists in 17 minutes in his home arena, but it wouldn't be a Jordan moment without an adventure at the free-throw line.
Late in the game with the outcome long decided, Jordan stepped to the charity stripe and came up a bit short much to the delight and amusement of his teammates.
Melo, Kevin Durant, and Boogie Cousins clown DeAndre Jordan for airballing a free throw vs China pic.twitter.com/LIcFnUF74l— gifdsports (@gifdsports) July 25, 2016
Someone shut that window! It was the only free throw Jordan shot in this game, and that was probably a good thing.
Someone will find a way to blame this groin shot by the basketball on Draymond Green
There was more painful hilarity in the game than just Jordan's late free-throw gaffe. Early on in the game, Jordan was part of another incident involving the basketball. After a shot clock violation in which Jordan had a chance to catch the desperate attempt to get the ball to the rim, the big man's hands weren't quite good enough to corral that horrible FIBA basketball.
That ended up being unfortunate for the unsuspecting referee.
No word yet on whether that was actually DeAndre Jordan or Draymond Green in a DeAndre Jordan costume.
Team USA's next exhibition will be Tuesday at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California, when they face China for the second straight game.