LONDRES (AP) — Kevin Durant anotó 15 de sus 22 puntos en una explosiva primera primera mitad y fue la bujía para que Estados Unidos solventara con una victoria 98-71 sobre Francia su debut el domingo en el básquetbol de los Juegos Olímpicos.

Durant acertó seis de sus 13 tiros al aro y atrapó nueve rebotes para los estadounidenses, que ratificaron el favoritismo que derrochan para revalidar el oro que consiguieron en Beijing 2008.

Kevin Love fue el segundo mejor anotador de Estados Unidos con 14 unidades, mientras que Kobe Bryant sumó 10.

LeBron James se acopló como distribuidor. Tomó seis tiros y anotó nueve puntos, pero repartió ocho asistencias con cinco rebotes.

Estados Unidos, que quedó así en la cima del Grupo A con Nigeria, se las verá el martes con Túnez.

Los estadounidenses, que ahora suman 18 triunfos consecutivos en torneos internacionales, van por su 14ta presea dorada en el básquetbol masculino.

Tony Parker, usando unos lentes especiales para proteger una lesión en el ojo que sufrió previa a los juegos, convirtió sólo cuatro de 11 disparos y terminó con 10 puntos y cuatro entregas de balón. Ali Traore fue el mejor francés con 12 puntos.

El encuentro inicio , con una Francia oponiendo resistencia gracias a los esfuerzos individuales de Parker y Ronny Turiaf, quienes se combinaron para anotar 11 puntos en el primer periodo en el que un momento lograron estar cuatro puntos abajo.

Pero los estadounidenses salieron más agresivos para el segundo cuarto y con una acometida 11-3, sellada con un triple de Chris Paul, se distanciaron 33-21 y ya no miraron atrás. Se fueron al descanso con ventaja 52-36.

Para el tercer cuarto, un par de encestes consecutivos de Love ampliaron hasta 25 puntos la ventaja para poner la pizarra 76-51 y un par de libres de Durant pusieron un 80-51 al inicio del último cuarto.

En ese momento, el entrenador Mike Krzyzewski realizó varios cambios. Durant y resto de los titulares se quedaron en la banca y entraron suplentes. Uno de ellos fue el novato Anthony Davis, primera selección en el último draft de la NBA.

Al final del partido, los jugadores estadounidenses saludaron a la primera dama Michelle Obama, quien estuvo en primera fila para presenciar el triunfo.

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