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Team USA Dominates Argentina in First Exhibition Game

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Go ahead and give Team USA the gold now. Despite not having its best team out there, USA showed why we’re the best basketball country in the world. In the first exhibition game leading into the Rio Olympics, USA beat Argentina 111-74 in Las Vegas last night.

We got our first glimpse of what the starting lineup will look like as Coach K used Kyrie, Klay, KD, Melo and DeMarcus Cousins to start the game. The only real shock was going with Melo over Draymond Green, but don’t be surprised if late in a close game K gets Draymond in there instead of Cousins. Green actually played the least amount of time for USA, but that is likely due to just getting his situation dealt with in Michigan.

More importantly the questions about how the offense would look were answered against a legit team. Argentina, while an older squad still have the likes of Manu Ginobili, Carlos Delfino, Andres Nocioni and Luis Scola.  They spread the floor, going 4-out, 1-in, letting Cousins dominate the boards. Durant led USA with 23 points while Paul George had 18 off the bench in his first game back for USA after shattering his leg a couple years ago.

The shortened international 3-point line is obviously beneficial to USA as K said during an interview this week that they look to shoot more 3’s because of the shorter distance. Last night they shot 36 times from behind the arc, making 14 of them. Melo was International Melo, going 5-for-8, proving why he’s always so important to the international team.

Cousins was the real story though for Team USA. Arguably the biggest question heading into camp and exhibition games was about the bigs. They only have Boogie, DeAndre Jordan and Draymond Green as ‘bigs’ for Rio. Well, Cousins showed why he’s the best big man in the game, getting 14 points and 15 rebounds. Why doesn’t an NBA team want him again?

USA will play China on Sunday, so look for the same type of game. The US will spread China out, trying to beat teams by shooting 3’s and getting offensive rebounds then defensively press and force turnovers. A lot of times after a made free throw or dead ball, Team USA will run a man press with the guy defending the ball doubling the main ball handler before the ball comes into play.