Manchester, England: The United States warmed up for the defence of their Olympic men’s basketball title by handing hosts Britain a 118-78 thrashing before a 17,000 sell-out crowd on Thursday.
Deron Williams and Carmelo Anthony each scored 19 points among six Americans in double figures while Britain’s NBA All-Star Luol Deng led all scorers with 25 points at the MEN arena.
The win came ten days before the US face France in their opening Group A game at the London Olympics. Argentina, Tunisia, Nigeria and Lithuania are also in their section.
The Americans were hugely popular with the Manchester crowd and the names of players such as Kobe Bryant and LeBron James were greeted with louder cheers than those of their British counterparts in the pre-match introductions.
Portland Trailblazers’ new signing Joel Freeland put Britain 2-0 ahead but that was the closest the home crowd would come to dreaming of an upset over the world renowned Americans.
A 10-0 run at the end of the first period put the US 33-20 in front and they were 55-37 ahead at half time before winning comfortably, though the players are taking nothing for granted.
“If we don’t come to play, if we’re not ready, we can be beat,” said Williams, a point guard with the Brooklyn Nets. “Teams could beat us.
“Spain is one of them, Brazil is one of them, Argentina is one of them and we’re playing all three teams in warm-up games so hopefully that will help us.
“We realise we have some flaws in our game and we have to sew them up.”