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Team USA starts slowly, tops Canada in pre-Olympic opener

USA TODAY
                                USA forward Jayson Tatum knocks the ball away from Canada forward Kelly Olynyk in the first quarter.

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USA TODAY

USA forward Jayson Tatum knocks the ball away from Canada forward Kelly Olynyk in the first quarter.

Anthony Edwards scored 13 points, Stephen Curry added 12 and Anthony Davis posted a double-double as Team USA topped Canada 86-72 today in a men’s basketball exhibition in Las Vegas.

Jrue Holiday had 11 points, Bam Adebayo grabbed seven rebounds and Tyrese Haliburton contributed six assists to help Team USA improve to 35-3 in pre-Olympic exhibition games all-time.

A size advantage allowed Team USA to pull away against its neighbors — and rivals — to the north.

Today marked the first meeting between the nations since Canada topped the U.S. 127-118 in overtime Sept. 10 in the bronze-medal game at the FIBA World Cup in Manila, Philippines.

Davis had 10 points, 11 rebounds and four of Team USA’s nine blocks. Team USA limited Canada to 33.8 percent shooting while hitting 50.7 percent from the floor.

RJ Barrett (12 points), Dillon Brooks (10), and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (10) finished in double figures for Canada.

Both teams battled early inconsistency, although the U.S. squad took longer to shake the rust in its first tune-up before the Paris Games. Team USA fell behind 11-1 midway through the first quarter and didn’t connect on its first field goal until Curry drilled a 3-pointer at the 5:25 mark, ending a run of seven U.S. misses to start the game.

“We’ve only practiced for a few days,” U.S. coach Steve Kerr said during an in-game interview on FS1, “so we’ve got a lot to tighten up. … We’ll get there. It’s just going to take some time.”

The U.S. took a 41-33 halftime lead, overcoming 11 first-half turnovers behind 52.9 percent shooting and a plus-17 edge on the glass.

Edwards and Jayson Tatum had eight points at the break to match Brooks, while Davis snagged seven rebounds.

Kevin Durant, Team USA’s all-time leading scorer in Olympic play, missed the game due to calf soreness. Team USA elected to send Kawhi Leonard home from training camp as he contends with a knee injury amid preparation for the NBA season. His replacement, Derrick White, has not yet joined the team.

Four exhibitions remain for Team USA before they play their Olympic opener on July 28 against Serbia in Lille, France. The U.S. squad is set to face Team Australia on Monday in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.


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